Meta spruces up Messenger for the holidays with new features and backgrounds

The Messenger logo in front of a snowy background

To celebrate various holidays including Christmas, Meta has announced a raft of new features for Messenger and Instagram DMs to get you in the festive mood. Features include a new AR Effect contributed to by ‘beauty guru’ Ashley Strong, new festive themes for chats, new soundmojis, and more dynamic emojis.

The holiday themes in Messenger

The feature Meta seems most excited about is the new AR Effect for Messenger and Instagram video calls that it has worked on with ‘beauty guru’ Ashley Strong. The effect, which launches this week, will make sparkles and shiny snowflakes appear from your eyes when you blink. Additionally, opening your mouth will make cold breath appear which will make your screen appear frozen. To use the feature, start a video call in Messenger or Instagram or by opening the Messenger camera, then press the face icon and find the item under the Effects tab.

A new AR Effect for Messenger

Next up, Meta has introduced more dynamic emojis. When you use the Christmas tree emoji or Hanukkah and Kwanzaa candles (🎄, 🕎 and 🕯) they will appear on the screen as larger icons to make the chat a bit more fun and dynamic. The following emojis can be used for New Year too: 🎉 = Happy New Year, 📆 = 2022, and 🥂= Cheers.

Holiday effects in Messenger

If you want to make your chats a bit more audible, you can go to the expressions tray and tap the loudspeaker then click the 🎁 and 🎄 emojis to add soundmojis to the chat. In addition, there are a whole bunch of features coming to Messenger Kids that allow you to chat with Santa, play holiday games, and more.

Finally, if you want to send people their Christmas money on Messenger, you can now send them gifts wrapped with personalised messages. To make it more personal, you’ll even be able to pick the virtual gift wrap that you send the money in.

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