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For most of us, this may be the first holiday season that we will spend separated from close family and friends. With a majority of Christmas parties and holiday get-togethers cancelled, it may feel like baking cookies, putting up decorations, and other usual holiday celebrations are cancelled too. As difficult as it may be to put traditions aside, obeying Covid-19 restrictions is essential to reduce the spread and keep everyone safe. While seeing loved ones may not be possible this holiday season, there are many ways to remain connected with family and friends and to celebrate the holidays together.

1. Virtual game night

Hosting a virtual game night on Zoom is a great way to see family and friends that you don’t get to see often. Bringing together people from all over the country, or even the world, to play some light-hearted games can help you stay connected.

2. Watch holiday movies together

Missing the nights spent eating popcorn while watching holiday movies with loved ones? Platforms such as Netflix Party allow you to watch movies in real-time while on a video call. I really like using platforms like this as you can react and discuss the movie together; it feels like you’re sitting next to each other! 

3. Bake together or share a meal

Pick out your favorite holiday recipe and bake with loved ones on Zoom. You can even make it a competition to see whose dish turns out the best by involving household family members as judges. Another option would be to make dinner together and sit down and enjoy the meal on video call, spending time catching up and swapping stories.

4. Send handwritten letters

While sending holiday cards is a common tradition, a spin on it can be sending personalized handwritten cards to loved ones to show them you’re thinking of them. I love receiving mail, and opening up a card written by my family members living across the country would be so special given that we can’t see each other.

5. Virtual Secret Santa

Gift-giving can still be done safely this year maintaining traditions like Secret Santa. Secret Santa works like this: you get randomly assigned someone in your family or friend group to buy a gift for, and you reveal your identity as the gift-giver after swapping gifts. By sending packages directly to the recipient (making use of online gift-wrapping features ), there is less handling of the package and a lower risk of spreading germs. Alternatively, buying a gift, wrapping it yourself, and delivering it personally can also be done, as long as you are careful to sanitize your hands before and after handling the package so as to not spread any germs on its surface. When receiving packages, also be careful to sanitize after handling. Once gifts are exchanged, throwing a virtual Secret Santa party where everyone wears ugly christmas sweaters and opens their gifts together would be a great way to stay connected and make this holiday season feel as normal as possible.

6. Deck the Halls

Get into the holiday spirit by playing your favorite holiday songs and putting up decorations with family on Zoom. If one person shares their audio on Zoom, everyone could be listening to the same music to help you feel more connected. Share stories and memories about past holidays and each piece of decor to reminisce and feel connected.

Lauren is a first year student from Providence, RI interested in creating her own concentration which would combine neuroscience, psychology, public health, and law. She loves fashion, true crime, Sherlock Holmes, and being on the Mock Trial team.
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