10 tip for staying connected during the holiday season


Any Lane "Happy black family taking selfie on smartphone"

The holiday season is usually full of time spent in communal gatherings with loved ones exchanging gifts and making new memories. However there’s no question the 2020 holiday season will look a lot different from years past. Even though most of us will be forgoing parties and family get-togethers, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate together — from a distance.


In this most unusual holiday season, don't let distance come between you and your loved ones. Try these ideas to celebrate the holidays virtually.


1. VIDEO CHAT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.


Video chat is a simple and effective way to keep in touch with loved ones. There are a ton of free video chat services—like Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts—and most will let you talk to a bunch of family members at once. You can have a mini family reunion right on your computer screen.


2. GET CREATIVE WITH VIDEO HANGOUTS BY PLAYING VIDEO GAMES OR WATCHING A MOVIE.


Sometimes just catching up with friends and family via video chat isn’t enough if you want to share new experiences, and create new memories. Nowadays, video chat is a pretty versatile tool. Play an online video game with your friends and keep the video screen open so you can see their reactions. Or, press play on a streaming version of your favorite holiday movie.


3. GET CREATIVE WITH SHARED ACTIVITIES


Whether you’re spending the holidays together or apart, find an activity the whole family can enjoy together in the future and get it in the books. It can be something as elaborate as a group sip and paint, or something as simple as a group talent show. No matter what you choose, an active will not only help you connect, but will keep you feeling connected in the future.


4. SET UP COMMUNICATION.


If you’re having trouble staying in touch with older relatives, consider purchasing them a laptop or tablet to make communication easier—there are plenty of bargained easy-to-use options out there geared specifically towards beginners. Plus, helping them set up video chat or email is, itself, quality time together.


5. SHARE SPECIAL MOMENTS WITH A PRIVATE PHOTO-SHARING APP OR GROUP CHAT.


If you want to share holiday highlights with your family without plastering them all over social media, try out one of the many private photo-sharing apps, or GroupMe.


6. MAKE A FAVORITE MEAL TOGETHER


Invite everyone on Zoom to make your favorite traditional holiday meal. Cooking together as a group will get everyone interacting in a way that just sitting down to dinner might not.


7. MAKE USE OF MAILING SERVICES.


If you still want to exchange gifts with loved ones be sure to use your local post office or other mailing services to exchange gifts. Try to coordinate a mutual time with your loved ones when you open gifts to share that moment remotely.


8. GET CREATIVE WITH HOLIDAY CARDS.


Let your imagination run wild while making holiday cards this year. Instead of the traditional “posing in front of holiday decorations” photo, feel free to get creative: Write personal letters to a few loved ones (and encourage them to write back!) or make a neat collage of family photos taken year-round. Try out one of the many mobile card-making apps that will let you create neat designs and send paperless holiday cards.


9. PLAY BOARD GAMES ONLINE.


We’re in the midst of a board game renaissance: Nowadays, there are tons of brand new board games for strategists, spelling-lovers, card sharks, and trivia buffs of all ages. Likewise, there are mobile games perfect for everyone, and most classic board games have a mobile counterpart.


10. INVENT A NEW TRADITION.


The holidays are a time to connect with loved ones, but it can be tough to find the time to stick to old school family traditions. So why not invent a new tradition that works for your family?


By Kevin J.

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