I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about how to squeeze as much joy as possible out of your holidays this year, but I think it’s really important!
If you’ve read my Halloween and Thanksgiving posts, then you probably already have some ideas for making your Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever you might celebrate) fun while keeping it safe.
I won’t spend a ton of time rehashing the same things I mentioned in other posts, because that’s boring! You’re here for New! Info!
So, whether you’ve decided to stay safely at home this year, or you’re financially not able to swing the holiday travel, let’s talk about how you can stay connected with the loved ones you won’t get to see in person this holiday season.
1. Snail Mail!
As far as experts know, coronavirus doesn’t live long on surfaces. It’s primarily spread through droplets (mmm), so sending lots of snail mail is actually one of the safest things you can do!
You can send premade holiday cards, or you can use up some of that extra quaran-time by making your own! The cards you make can be as simple or elaborate as your crafting skills will allow, and putting that extra love into them is a fun way to connect with your loved ones and let them know you’re thinking of them.
Confession: Even though I like making elaborate crafts from scratch, sometimes I also like to just buy the cute DIY kiddie craft kits (like this) and add my own little extra flair to them. After all, who doesn’t want an adorable foam snowman ornament glued together by a 29-year-old woman? A Scrooge, that’s who.
You can also send wrapped gifts and nonperishable treats, too! As long as you follow good hygiene practices while cooking or baking, sharing treats in the mail is just as safe as sending anything else.
2. Virtual Game and Movie Dates
Thank goodness for all of the fun new apps that let us play together even if we can’t be in the same room!
One that I’ve used a few times since quarantine started is Netflix Party (I think they rebranded as Teleparty, but everyone I know still calls it Netflix Party). This is a super simple Chrome extension that lets you synchronize your movie watching AND gives you a group chat feature right in the window. It’s also free, which makes it a perfect option for scheduling that holiday movie marathon to keep the tradition alive.
Gaming is another way to spend quality time together, even if you’re apart. Steam is one of the best ways to remotely play all kinds of games with friends and family. It’s free to download, easy to set up, and gives you access to all kinds of tools for setting up virtual game nights. If you need some game ideas, this list has lots of titles that can be played remotely.
And of course, there’s always Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts to connect with loved ones over the holidays. But you probably knew that already, right?
3. Gather Remotely
Do you always spend a day baking with your aunts and cousins? This year, why not try coordinating your annual baking party via Zoom? It won’t be exactly the same, but I can say from experience that virtually hanging out while you’re cooking together can really be a lot of fun (especially if there’s alcohol involved!).
You can create a collaborative Spotify playlist of everyone’s favorite songs, set up your phone, tablet, or laptop on a convenient surface, and keep the holiday tradition going!
The same is true for opening presents and sharing holiday meals, too. If you have a smart TV or something like Chromecast, you can even move your festivities to the larger screen for maximum fun.
Have fresh flowers, specialty treats, or thoughtful gifts delivered to your loved ones’ houses. Most places will do personalization, gift wrapping, and contactless delivery, so you can spread joy without germs.
Make a memory montage to share with friends and family. Collect stories, photos, videos, and anything else you can think of from previous holidays and share them either online or via snail mail. You can even do this at a socially distanced in-person gathering, if you end up going to any!
And finally, don’t feel like you have to be a bastion of endless positivity and holiday cheer. It’s okay to acknowledge that this isn’t how any of us hoped to spend our holidays, and you don’t have to go out of your way to celebrate extra-hard this year if your heart just isn’t in it.
But it’s important to remember that it’s still possible to have an unconventionally fun holiday season, so don’t let the distance stop you from getting as holly and jolly and connected as you want this year!