The holidays might look different this year, as the pandemic may influence many families to limit how many to invite to this year’s holiday celebrations. And New Year’s Eve might not be the spectacular celebration of fireworks, champagne toasts and late night parties we typically enjoy.
While celebrating might mean staying in and celebrating with a home-cation, you can still connect with loved ones for those big holidays you normally enjoy together. Here are 10 ways to virtually connect to friends and family during socially-distanced holidays.
1. The Virtual Personal Hello
If you’re missing one-on-one time with mom, dad, a sibling or best friend, schedule a virtual chat. But don’t just pick up the phone! Use your favorite virtual meeting platform to have a face-to-face holiday conversation. Whatever platform you use, power up the tablet, the laptop or your smartphone and pretend your favorite person is right there…because they kind of are right there in the room!
If no gifts are being exchanged (maybe it’s a friend or perhaps this is a New Year’s conversation), pick a favorite backdrop to create a fun ambiance. The beach? Maybe a crackling fire? There are so many fun backgrounds for virtual meetings and chats. Pick your favorite.
2. A Virtual Gift Exchange
If you’re celebrating a gift-giving holiday, call loved ones ahead of time so that you can plan to unwrap presents via the virtual platform. While it won’t be quite the same as sitting together in the same room, handing out presents and tossing that paper everywhere, you can still appreciate the joy and happiness of opening a special gift.
You might even plan to do a humorous white elephant exchange. Pick some fun and crazy gifts and ship them out (hopefully, you still have time to ship!), and plan to do an unwrap and unveil during the virtual meet-up.
3. Make Virtual Cookies!
How do you eat virtual cookies? How do you plan to exchange virtual cookies? Holiday cookies are a tradition that many families love and schedule each year. Some families bake cookies a few weeks before the holidays, others bake cookies a few days from Christmas.
If grandma or other relatives can’t join you this year because of the pandemic, bake those cookies together virtually. This involves planning, though. Schedule a day when everyone can bake together, make sure everyone has the right ingredients, then set up the tablet somewhere safe so everyone can talk.
Make sure, though, you don’t get distracted and burn the cookies! And be sure to set up the tablet somewhere away from the oven. Be safe when baking!
4. Decorate the Tree or Light the Menorah Virtually!
The Middletons will be decorating their tree with the help of royal grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis plus grandson Arthur (whose mom is Duchess Kate’s sister Pippa)…but they’re doing it virtually. Be like the Middletons! If you have grandkids who help decorate the tree, let them give their guidance via a virtual call. Focus the tablet’s camera on the tree, then present each ornament and the grandkids can direct where each decoration should be placed. This is how the Middletons will do it!
If family members light the menorah together, do this virtually, too! Or virtually chat with each loved one to show off decorations for Hanukkah or Christmas.
5. Ring In the New Year…Virtually, of Course!
The countdown to 2021 can’t come soon enough; 2020 was crazy. While many might stay indoors for a home-cation for New Year’s Eve, you can still celebrate. Just plan ahead. Purchase some wine or champagne or ingredients for a special New Year’s dinner. Maybe watch the ball drop on television.
If you can’t see loved ones, plan to call them a few minutes before the New Year begins so you can celebrate together. Missing a partner? You might kiss the screen together at midnight!
6. Schedule Virtual Story Time
Grandparents may miss seeing their grandkids during the holiday break. Schedule a virtual story time between kids and their grandparents. This could include special holiday stories or just a few favorite books that the grandparents love to read.
This is a great way to ensure kids get to spend some quality time with their grandparents…even when no one can get together.
7. Schedule a Girl’s Night
The holidays might not involve kids. Not everyone has children. So schedule time with friends. Have a girl’s night. Or a guy’s night. And do it virtually.
Maybe this could include wine and conversation. Or have a virtual dance party. Plan something original and fun that you will all enjoy. Get creative!
8. Virtual Game Night
Yes, your family can host a virtual game night. Just make sure everyone on the virtual call has the same game. This can get a little complicated, though, as everyone needs to move pieces for other players to keep up to speed.
The craziness can be fun, though!
9. The Virtual Date
Not everyone was fortunate enough to be able to stay in the same place as their partner. If the pandemic is keeping you apart, plan a virtual date together. Think of something fun you both can enjoy and spend some time together virtually.
Need some ideas? The Cut offers nine great virtual date ideas, including a drawing challenge!
10. The Virtual Vent
Honestly, sometimes we all need to vent. During the holidays, being apart from friends and loved ones can be sad, lonely and simply heartbreaking. Schedule a night to vent together. Just plan a night that everyone on the virtual call agrees that it’s just going to be a let-it-all-out chat. Listen to each other. And let it out.
The holidays and the entire winter may be a time when we can’t always see our loved ones, even during the big celebrations that we normally enjoy. Take solace in video calls, and plan chats, games and dates to keep everyone communicating.