As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, many Americans have made the difficult decision to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones virtually rather than in-person. Although this situation certainly isn’t ideal, here’s a few ways to stay connected to your loved ones during this unprecedented time.
1. Stay Connected
Virtual connection platforms like Google Hangout, Zoom, and Skype are more popular now than ever. Many of these companies offer free trials and even free virtual meetings with a time limit and are a great way to stay connected with loved ones.
When utilizing these technologies, be sure to plan ahead. Make sure everyone involved is comfortable using whichever platform you use. Jumping on a Zoom meeting could be much easier to the younger generation who are likely familiar with these softwares, but those who are new to using technology may need some practice.
Pro Tip: Use a fun, virtual background! Click here for instructions on how to upload a background.
3. Don’t Dine Alone
An important part of celebrating holidays is of course, the food. If you’re used to having a sit-down dinner with your loved ones, that doesn’t have to change thanks to virtual meetings. Schedule a time that everyone can sit down at the dinner table and connect virtually.
Be sure to share recipes ahead of time, so everyone can eat the same food in different places. If you can, try and honor your usual traditions. If you typically go around the dinner table and have each person say what they’re thankful for, be sure to keep that going on your virtual meeting.
Pro Tip: Connect your laptop to the TV and dine on the couch to get a larger view of friends and family.
3. It’s All Fun and Games
If you’re used to enjoying fun, interactive, activities with loved ones around the holidays, it’s time to get creative. Have any rising stars in the family? Host a virtual talent show for each person to showcase their skills. Whether it be singing, dancing, or even stand up comedy, this could get interesting and be a lot of fun.
For the gamers, consider joining Houseparty, a video group chat app for smart phones. You can play interactive games, including Quick Draw, which is like Pictionary while video-chatting with friends and family. There are also screen sharing capabilities and the best part is that it’s free! Other apps like “Heads Up”, a virtual charades game that can be played by each party even while on a virtual meeting platform like Zoom.
Finally, your annual movie night isn’t ruined! Check out Netflix Party, a free Google Chrome extension that makes watching movies and TV with your friends easy and fun again. Although you can only use Netflix Party in Chrome browsers on desktops and laptops, if you have a Chromecast device, you may be able to cast your screen to your TV. Netflix Party offers a synchronizing playback and group chat feature so that you can share movie night with loved ones from anywhere.
Staying connected with loved ones is especially important for your physical and mental well-being. Feeling engaged and motivated to participate in virtual events can feel like a struggle at times and given the circumstances, this is totally normal. As we all navigate this unprecedented holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself and appreciate the connections with your loved ones and holiday traditions that we all share, after all, 2021 is right around the corner!