The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown the holidays off for everybody!
Public health and safety precautions have prevented many families from coming together this holiday season. This year has been difficult for everyone.
We thought writing this blog post could be helpful for you, maybe to spark new ideas for spurring some meaningful, priceless connection with your family and friends during this holiday season - even if you can’t be with them in-person this year.
1. Zoom (obviously)!
You know this already, but we’ve got some new ideas for you that we think you’ll need to hear about:
-Play board games together, whether on the same weekend or even over video chat. There are even some board games you can play online!
-Do a video chat every day for 10 days before Christmas (or every day of Hanukkah).
-Put together puzzles with family members over Zoom. Talk over Zoom while piecing them together!
-Mail white elephant gifts or stockings to family members and open them together on Zoom.
-Use a group watch streaming software and watch a movie together! Many streaming services connect with a group watch app.
There are tons of things you can do together with family and friends over video chat, but these are just a few ideas to get the ideas rolling in.
2. Get a photo sharing app to share every moment with each other. (drive, iCloud, eFamily)
It’s easy to feel isolated. Photos can help give you familiar faces to remember, think about, and bring a little joy to the holiday season!
If you have family members that can’t join you for the holidays, it could be a good idea to get a photo sharing app that allows you to share photos for everyone to see. Every family member can be included in all the fun and busy families can share photos together easily:
Android users can use Google Drive to share photos with each other, and iPhone users can upload photos to Shared Albums via iCloud. If family members have different types of devices, everyone can use the same sharing platform (Google Drive or use an app like eFamily).
3. Get a group text going of all the holiday activities you’re doing.
Group texts. We might dislike them when we’re in the wrong groups… but in order to lift up family or friends during this holiday season? This could be a very good thing to do!
Talking about what each of you are doing can be a good way to spread some holiday cheer. This could be a way to share photos, spark conversation, and increase connection between you and the family you would normally see over the holiday season.
A great alternative to a group text could be the app Marco Polo. Marco Polo is a video messaging app that has become extremely popular in recent months. For the people who don’t like texting, this could be the perfect solution to make a group in!
4. Send letters to each other (holiday cards NOT required)
Let’s admit it… taking family photos and printing a holiday card through a service like Shutterfly is always a big task - especially when you’re already weighed down by the burdens of this year.
Instead, why not take a little time to write personalized letters to close family members?
It’s meditative to sit and write a letter, and it also does your conscience good to know someone will be lifted up by your expression of appreciation for them.
Pen pals can also be special. Most of us have an inner-child that would be thrilled to go back to old-school letter writing, even if it’s just for the fun of it!
5. Start a new tradition.
There are so many different traditions you could start. Let us name a few:
- Hand-write holiday letters to close friends and family (to make someone’s day)
- Get cozied up and complete puzzles with family, in-person or over zoom
- 10 days of Zoom counting down to Christmas, or every day of Hanukkah
- Take a drive to see holiday lights (here are the best places to see lights in the Pittsburgh area)
- Make and enjoy the same meal as your family members, just in different homes
- Watch the same movies using a group watch app
- Make a shared playlist on Spotify or Apple Music (everyone can add their favorite songs and all family members can listen in their own homes)
- Start an “I am Thankful” list to reference every day during the holiday season
Although it may seem intimidating to start something new, just remember every tradition was “new” at some point. Making new memories with family members is a special part of the holiday season, even if we have to do them socially distanced for the time being.
We hope you can take a few of these ideas and spark some meaningful connection with your loved ones this holiday season!