2020 has been a stressful and isolating year. As a result, many people have looked forward to the holiday season as a way to reconnect and experience the sense of normal we all miss. However, as the United States goes through its third surge of the coronavirus, the CDC and other health agencies are requesting we change our holiday travel plans to help flatten the curve.
While not seeing loved ones in-person for the holidays is hard, it’s important we do what we can to keep our families and communities safe from COVID-19. Instead of looking at the situation as a let-down, try looking at it as a way to make new holiday traditions. There are plenty of fun and safe activities you can do over video calls that will keep you in touch with those you celebrate the holidays with. Who knows, you may even enjoy them so much you’ll start doing them every year.
Read on for inspiration of what you can try this season.
Practice makes perfect. And while many people have been using video calls daily since the pandemic started, everyone has a family member or two who aren’t very tech-savvy. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to have a practice session with some ahead of time. Even putting together a list of step-by-step instructions that you can give everyone in advance can be helpful for the live gathering.
One item that will be worth practicing will be using the Mute button. Background noises such as TVs, dogs and kitchen timers can quickly turn what was meant as a fun activity into a stressful ordeal. That is especially important when on a call with lots of people.
Use a Fun Background
The holidays are often a time for a family vacation. Just because that’s not the case this year doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and pretend that we’re in an exciting place.
Virtual backgrounds have become a popular addition to video calls. They allow participants to add a little personality and a sense of adventure to a typical meeting. So instead of just showing off your kitchen or dining room, pick a background from your favorite destination. Whether that’s a sunny beach or a cozy mountain lodge, using a themed background can help add a dose of cheer to the call.
Cook and Eat Together
In many households, meal preparation and cooking together is an important holiday tradition. If it is for your family, coordinate with them on timing and set up a laptop or tablet in your kitchen so that all of you can still enjoy that part of the holidays. Who knows, maybe some of you will enjoy not bumping elbows as much or having to share counter space.
Of course, with all of the cooking comes all of the eating. And for some, family meals are the height of the holiday season. So, similar to working together on the cooking, see if any of your friends and family would want to eat at the same time and set up a laptop in your dining room to make it happen. Of course, some of your loved ones may not want to eat on screen, and that’s okay.
Watch Live Sports
There are often all kinds of live sporting events going on during the holidays. And few things make you feel like you’re with your loved ones more than cheering on your team. For this idea, simply keep a virtual room open throughout the day while games are playing to create a more casual holiday setting. This allows for friends and family to hop on and off as they like, catch up during half-time, react to a game in real-time and enjoy each other’s company with a more relaxed feel.
Play Games Together
Gathering around the table to play a board or card game is a classic holiday tradition for many. Fortunately, many of those games are now available online for free, which makes them easy to play over a video call.
Here’s a list of some of those games that also encourage group participation, or at least more than two players:
If playing board games has been a part of your family’s holiday traditions, moving the gameplay online will prove to be a fun alternative.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to keep holiday traditions alive and well despite the distance that the coronavirus may create. Who knows, maybe by using video calling, you’ll be able to connect with family and friends you typically don’t see during the holidays. Or, you may discover a great way to stay better connected all through the year!
The important thing is to make the most of it, roll with the punches that technological difficulties may present and enjoy the time you have with loved ones. Happy holidays!