Staying Connected During an Unusual Holiday Season

Nothing about 2020 has been normal, and that includes the start of the holiday season. While many of us are used to having large Friendsgiving dinners, visiting with family and spending the next couple of months with our closest loved ones, it’s not that attainable right now. 

Many people are unable to travel home for the holidays because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.  And even those who do go home won’t be able to attend normal gatherings. It’s ultimately unsafe, and in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 we need to minimize the size of our gatherings and activities.

This year has been challenging in terms of finding ways to stay connected with loved ones. So some people have gotten really creative. 

Facetime and Zoom have been the obvious answer for staying connected for many months now, but there are so many different ways in which we can utilize them besides just trying to mimic face-to-face conversations. Setting up a laptop at an empty place setting and calling loved ones is an easy way to simulate a big family dinner.  This is also a way to simulate date night- you can order takeout to each other’s houses or keep Facetime on while cooking to bring a little normalcy and comfort to a difficult time.

Roasted turkey on white ceramic plate Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Virtual game night is also a fun way to spend time with friends or family that aren’t in your immediate household. There are several board games that you can play virtually with friends such as Monopoly and Clue. Cards Against Humanity is also offered online and is a great way to laugh.

Alot of people have been watching movies together online through platforms such as Netflix Party, but it’s also fairly easy to create group calls over the phone in order to hear one another’s live reactions to the film. When doing this, it’s usually a good idea to use earbuds for the movie so nobody gets background noise. But this is a good way to get in those holiday movie traditions.

person holding a remote control pointed at TV streaming netflix Photo by freestocks from Unsplash

There are also less scheduled ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones if you’re busy with online school or work. Making a playlist of songs that remind you of that person, or a playlist of holiday songs that you would be playing were you spending that time together can be a sweet gesture to show your love without having to pin down an exact time. It’s especially nice when you live in different time zones and planning a sit-down dinner or movie might be more difficult. Spotify lets you add custom covers to your playlists using the desktop app, so you can entirely customize these playlists for the people who matter to you most. 

If you’re looking to take a break from the screen, sending love letters can be a sentimental way to stay in touch, and support the post office! Love letters don’t only have to be sent to significant others, they can go to friends and family members as well. Sitting down to just write out your thoughts about how much you care for, appreciate and miss your loved ones is a good outlet for those emotions and will make someone else feel so loved. They don’t have to be long, even a postcard with a small note of affection can make someone’s day. 

We can also help out the post office by sending gifts through the mail this year, though it may be a good idea to do this well in advance to account for any delays. Sending presents to your loved ones and opening them over Facetime is a great way to show someone that you’re thinking of them without having to miss out on their first reactions. 

Gift held in hands with wrapping paper Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Ultimately, it’s going to be a weird holiday season. But large social gatherings aren’t safe right now and it’s important to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. Take care of yourselves and each other in any and all ways possible, and to try and stay connected with our loved ones. 

Sources: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)