The holidays this year are going to look a lot different than in previous years. Ideas to virtually stay connected & celebrate Christmas with our loved ones!
The holiday season this year is going to look a lot different than it has in previous years. For most of us, there will be no big family dinner, no gatherings, no road trips, and no exciting vacations to look forward to. While the pandemic has put a real damper on so much this year, let’s focus on the positives instead and see how we can still make the best of the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s interesting how we are conditioned to believe that change or something different is a bad thing. But by keeping an open mind, this Christmas season can still be bright, cheery, and full of spirit. Let’s move past the negative and fear, and look at creating a positive holiday experience.
So let’s get creative and talk about some ideas that can help you stay connected with your loved ones AND stay in the spirit of the season.
Here are some ideas to help you stay in the spirit during the holidays.
1. Set your priorities
Most people have a list of holiday traditions they look forward to year after year. This year some may not be an option. Take the extra time to enjoy the traditions you can do and create new ones you can look forward to for years to come. Some ideas of new traditions can include: driving around looking at Christmas lights, tobogganing at a local hill, baking cookies, decorating a gingerbread house, and making handmade Christmas gifts.
2. Shop early
Since most shopping for gifts will be done online, make sure you shop early to avoid any shipping delays or issues. The sheer volume of online shopping is going to be immense so be prepared! It’s great to be able to find that perfect gift without being able to shop in person. (PS. Many small businesses are online now too-one of the positives to come out of COVID!)
3. Decorate outside
If you don’t normally decorate outside, consider doing so this year. If you are able to have any socially distant visits over the holidays they will likely be outside so make it festive and welcoming. Decorate a tree in your yard by stringing lights and hanging shatterproof ornaments. Place a festive sign on your porch, an inflatable or two on the lawn, and hang lights on your home.
4. Make some new memories
Although we all love our families, being together all the time can be tiresome. By now you may notice you’re getting on each other’s nerves, or short with one another. Use the holidays as a reason to reset. Create a homemade advent calendar with simple things to do in it (ex. Watch a Christmas movie, play a board game, decorate cookies, etc) or focus on having distraction-free time with your kids, spouse, and together as a family. These simple activities can help you feel reconnected.
5. Spread the joy
2020 has been a great reminder for us all to be grateful for the people in our lives. Write some thoughtful reminders to your loved ones and pop them in the mail, drop some Christmas baking on a neighbor’s doorstep, or have a pizza or treats delivered to your local medical professionals or a nursing home. Giving back is wonderful for the receiver but even better for the giver.
If you have a moment where you’re feeling blue, try to channel your Christmas spirit and focus on one of the fun activities above.
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Ideas to virtually stay connected with your loved ones this holiday season and celebrate Christmas
Now, when it comes to missing out on a big festival dinner with the entire family or friends, it’s sad to think we won’t physically see everyone for sure. So how can we stay connected even when we are so far apart before, during, and after the holidays?
1. Play a game online
With the wide variety of options for online games, playing with loved ones can be a way to stay connected. Classic games such as crib, backgammon, Monopoly, Scrabble, and Uno are all available to play online from a distance with your loved ones. There really is something for everyone.
2. Host a movie night
Everyone loves the movies and since going to the theatre can be considered risky, set a date and time with friends/family. Meet online, coordinate video play, and create a group chat or Zoom session to visit throughout!
3. Put pen to paper
Since we are spending more time at home you may be looking for different ways to fill your time or a new hobby. Take advantage of your time by writing a handwritten note to someone important to you. Handwritten letters are personal and can give you something to look forward to when you receive a reply.
4. Get on the phone
Long before texting and video chat, there were good old fashioned phone calls. Get back to the basics and pick up the phone to call someone you love. Sometimes, it’s nice just to hear someone else’s voice when you’re feeling isolated.
5. Have a coffee or drink, virtually
With apps like Zoom, Google Meet, and FaceTime it’s easier than ever to have a face-to-face conversation while enjoying your favorite beverage.
6. Hold a virtual event
Technology can keep us together during these trying times. These events can simply be to catch up on life events, or at each event have someone from your group teach a skill they are good at. Yoga, crafts, mindset, and more are all things that you can learn about together.
7. Hold a virtual dinner
Dinner is a big part of the Christmas celebration for many families. Since you may not be physically together this year, jump on a video chat and enjoy your meal as a group.
8. Create an online group
Creating a Facebook group for your family or friends can be a fun way to stay connected. Members can share videos, music, and other posts with the group to stay in touch.
9. Set up an activity to do
There are so many activities out there that can be fun for the whole family. Set a timeline for the activity/craft/etc. that you choose and then on the deadline get together to share your final projects with one another.
10. Host a book club
If you have loved ones who love to read, consider hosting a virtual book club. It’s good for your brain and your mental health.
11. Coordinate your gift openings
Since the excitement of Christmas morning might look a little different, coordinate with video chat to open your gifts with your loved ones. While it may feel a little different without being able to hug your loved ones, it will be great to enjoy the excitement on their faces.
12. Create themed weeks
In the weeks leading up to and during Christmas, create a list of different themes and activities to go with them. Each week, all the groups of people included will implement the theme in their own way and then share with the rest about how they achieved this. Some fun ideas to consider adding are: brunch, ugly Christmas sweaters, wreath making, building a food hamper, filling shoeboxes for children in need, pay it forward, and snowman building (weather permitting of course). Include
13. Take a walk down memory lane
When you’re missing the way that the holidays used to be, snuggle up in front of your fireplace or under a blanket and get out the photos. Taking a look through previous Christmas celebrations will spark your memory and give you the chance to share stories of some of your most special holidays with your loved ones. Taking an evening to sit and reminisce can be really powerful in making you feel connected.
14. Make your favorite foods
During the regular hustle and bustle of life, most of us fall into the habit of cooking the same quick and easy meals. Without the ability to travel over the holidays, you may find yourself with time to spare. Dig out your cookbook and grab the ingredients you need to make all of your favorites. You’ll enjoy your favorites, share with your loved ones, AND cooking together can be a great bonding activity to do with your kiddos. Include
15. Participate in healthy competition
Contests and trivia games can be a fun way to spend time with your family and a healthy dose of competition never hurt anyone either. Scavenger hunts, coloring contests, and family history trivia are fun ideas to create a sense of togetherness.
Socially distanced doesn’t have to mean impersonal or lonely. These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the options available to stay connected.
Tips to host the best virtual holiday parties
With many people working from home for most of the year, scheduling online get-togethers may not be that uncommon. For those that are new to scheduling online events, here are some tips to pull it off without a hitch.
1. Fun Online Invites
When you plan a video chat or event, create and send out a fun online invitation to get everyone excited and put them into the holiday spirits. And of course, you will know who is attending and can plan for a headcount to make sure no one is left out on the day of the event.
2. Set expectations
Online chat can get crazy and loud. Be sure to set a list of ground rules when it comes to activities, contests, games, etc. so that everyone is clear on what to expect and what is appropriate for the event.
3. Set a schedule
If you’re coordinating with multiple people, setting a date and time is important to make sure everyone arrives at the same time. If you are coordinating a game, craft, or online event with an itinerary, be sure to supply all attendees with the details so everyone knows what to expect.
4. Delegate when you can
Coordinating online events can be tiresome, just like coordinating in-person events. If you’re coordinating a get-together with a lot of different moving parts ask for help and delegate! For example, if you’re coordinating a scavenger hunt, have 2-3 family members help to create the clues. Then have another person track the responses to determine the winners. You can also have someone send an email to coordinate a time to meet online, and a link to do so to all the participants. If you’re offering prizes, have a dedicated person who picks them up and sends them out. Delegating makes it less overwhelming and keeps it fun!
What is your favorite way to stay connected with your loved ones?
“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”