😨🙄😩 This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Hannah Madden is a writer, editor, and artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. In 2018, she graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Hannah enjoys writing articles about conservation, sustainability, and eco-friendly products. When she isn’t writing, you can find Hannah working on hand embroidery projects and listening to music.
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😨🙄😩 With the spread of COVID-19 continuing through the holiday season, many people are choosing to stay home instead of traveling for the holidays. However, spending the holiday without your friends and family members can be tough, and it might feel a little lonely. Thankfully, with a few creative ideas and the help of technology, you can celebrate with your loved ones while staying healthy and safe during the holidays.
Method 1Method 1 of 5:Video Chat Platforms Download Article
- 1Go for Google Hangouts if everyone has a Gmail account. Google Hangouts can host up to 10 people at a time, and it’s free for anyone with a Gmail account. When it’s time to celebrate, send everyone on your list a virtual invitation to have them log on.XResearch source
- To start a Google Hangout, visit https://hangouts.google.com/.
- 2Use Zoom to celebrate with 2 people for free. In groups of 3 or more, Zoom has a 40-minute time limit. If you’d like to go over that time limit, you can pay for an account. However, Zoom announced that it will remove that time limit on Thanksgiving only, so if you want to celebrate for Thanksgiving virtually, this would be a great option.XResearch source
- To sign up for a Zoom account, visit https://zoom.us/.
- 3Try Facebook Messenger for a group of up to 6 people. If everyone in your group already has Facebook, this is a great option. If you’re going to celebrate with more than 6 people, you might want to pick a different platform.XResearch source
- To start a video call on Facebook Messenger, open up your messages and click the blue camera icon.
- 4Use FaceTime if everyone in your group has an Apple device. FaceTime has a great video quality, and it’s free on your Apple iPad or iPhone. However, it can only show up to 4 people at a time.XResearch source
- If you don’t have FaceTime on your Apple device, you can download it from the App Store by searching for "facetime."
- 5Try Houseparty to play games while you chat. You can sign up for a Houseparty account and use it on iOS, Android, or a desktop. It can display up to 8 people at a time, and it even has fun games, like Uno, that you can play with everyone.XResearch source
- To download HouseParty, visit https://houseparty.com/.
- 6Go for Skype if you’re celebrating with a large group. Skype is one of the oldest video chatting platforms, and it can host up to 50 people at a time. Sign up for an account and download it on your device to get started.XResearch source
- To download Skype, visit https://www.skype.com/en/.
Method 2Method 2 of 5:Games and Activities Download Article
- 1Host a gingerbread decorating competition. You don’t need to be together in person to pick out a winner! Send your loved ones a gingerbread making kit, then see who can decorate theirs the best.XResearch source
- This is a perfect activity to get your little ones in the holiday spirit.
- You can find gingerbread decorating kits at most home goods or craft stores.
- 2Try a virtual game night. If you all have the same board game, you can set up your pieces and play like you’re all together. Or, you can try an interactive game, like trivia, charades, or Jackbox, that you can play right from your computer.XResearch source
- You can play tons of different games on Jackbox when you purchase a party pack. To see which games it includes, visit https://www.jackboxgames.com/.
- You could even set a small prize for the winner of the game that you mail out later.
- 3Make a holiday playlist and share it with your family members. Holiday music is sure to get everyone in the spirit! Create a playlist on Spotify or YouTube, then share it with your family members via email or instant messenger so you can listen to carols all night long.XResearch source
- If holiday music isn’t your thing, you can put together a playlist of music you like to listen to, instead.
- 4Watch a virtual holiday performance together. Many churches and community centers are putting on holiday shows virtually instead of in-person. Send the link to everyone in your family so you can all log on and watch the show at the same time to really feel the holiday spirit.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- Some towns are also hosting virtual tree lightings and parades, which can be fun to watch, too!
- 5Tune into a sporting event together. Football is a huge after-meal activity, and you can keep it going by watching the same game. Pick a channel and have your loved ones tune in at the same time to show your team spirit.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- If your family is super into football, you could even get dressed up with a jersey and a foam finger.
- 6Host a virtual movie night. Many streaming platforms have options to watch a movie at the same time. Log into Netflix or Hulu, then select "Watch Party" to share your screen with your loved ones.XResearch source
- You’ll both have to have a Netflix or a Hulu account to watch a movie at the same time.
Method 3Method 3 of 5:Traditions Download Article
- 1Set a fancy dress code. It’s always fun to put on your Sunday best when you see your friends and family. Have everyone in your family get a little fancy to make the holiday feel special by dressing up for your celebration.XResearch source
- If you want to stay comfortable, you could set a fancy dress code from the waist up. That way, everyone can still lounge in sweatpants while looking sharp in a button-down and tie.
- 2Mail out some holiday cards. Everyone loves getting letters in the mail! If you can’t be together for the holidays, send your loved ones a card with your picture so they can still feel your presence.XResearch source
- Mail delivery services might be delayed a little bit because of the pandemic, so be sure to get your cards in the mail early.
- 3Decorate for the holidays over video chat. You can take your family on a tour of your home as you put up your decorations inside and out. If you live with your family members or roommates, get them involved, too!XResearch source
- Decorating your home will put you in the holiday spirit, even if you’re feeling down about celebrating virtually.
- 4Sing carols together over video chat. Pick out your favorite carols and send the lyrics through email or instant messenger. Pull up an instrumental video on YouTube as a backing track and sing your heart out with your loved ones.XTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer's AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer's and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source
- If someone in your family plays piano, they could accompany you over video chat.
- 5Share special pictures to remember past holidays. If you have a digital or physical photo album, share it with your loved ones to remember fun times you’ve all had. You can email the photos to your family members so they can look on their own devices, or you can hold photos up to your camera to show them off.XTrustworthy SourceAlzheimer's AssociationNonprofit organizaton focused on supporting those affected by Alzheimer's and promoting research on the diseaseGo to source
- This is a nice way to remember family members who are no longer with you, too.
Method 4Method 4 of 5:Food and Drinks Download Article
- 1Cook at the same time over video chat. If the best part of the holiday for you is cooking the meal together, log onto a video chat with your loved ones. Bring your computer into the kitchen so you can cook "together" while still staying safe in your own home.XResearch source
- You can talk about what you’re making, ask for cooking advice, or just catch up.
- 2Share recipes to make the same meal. You can recreate the feeling of sitting down for a delicious meal with your loved ones this way. Plan on making the same main dish and a few sides so everyone feels like they’re eating at the same table.XResearch source
- Even if you can’t make the exact same meal, you can still make a few similar dishes.
- 3Plan to eat while on video together. Set your computer on the table and eat at the same time as your loved ones to feel like you’re all together. You can still make great conversation and have a fun time with your family and friends, even if you’re not in the same room together.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- Make sure you pick a time that works well for everyone! You may have to adjust for different time zones.
- 4Host a virtual cocktail hour to share winter drink recipes. If you can’t stand to miss out on a holiday drink, invite your loved ones to join you over video chat as you mix one up. You can share your recipe with them if they’d like to make the same one, then sip on your drinks at the same time.XResearch source
- Try making mulled wine, hot buttered rum, or an old fashioned.
- Having a virtual cocktail party is a great way to celebrate the holidays with your coworkers or staff members.
- 5Deliver meals to relatives if any of them live nearby. If you have any older relatives or relatives who are at a high risk for COVID-19, make them a dish and drop it off at their doorstep. You can wave to them from the window and wish them a happy holiday before heading home.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- It can be hard for elderly folks to cook for themselves. Making them a nice meal can make their holiday seem extra special.
Method 5Method 5 of 5:Gifts Download Article
- 1Shop online rather than in-person. Although Black Friday deals are tempting, heading off to a crowded store can raise your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Instead, try looking for online deals or waiting until Cyber Monday to buy your gifts online.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- A lot of stores will be hosting online deals due to the pandemic, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.
- Be sure to check out your local small businesses! They may have some good holiday deals, and many are struggling due to the pandemic.
- If you’re looking for handmade items, an online marketplace like Etsy is a great place to start.
- 2Organize a Secret Santa gift exchange for a fun way to give gifts. Have everyone in your family sign up and write down what they’d like to receive as a gift. Assign everyone one person to buy gifts for, then have them mail their gifts before the holiday to spread holiday cheer.XResearch source
- This is also a great way to cut down on the cost of gifts this year. If you can’t afford to buy everyone in your family a gift, you can focus on getting your Secret Santa a cool gift instead.
- 3Send a care package to your loved ones to spread holiday cheer. It can be full of snacks, candy, decorations, or anything in between! If your loved ones are close, you could even drop off baked goods on their doorstep.XResearch source
- For Christmas, you might send hot cocoa mix, a red Santa hat, or a wreath.
- For Thanksgiving, some turkey rub or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are sure to get your family in the holiday spirit.
- 4Open up presents over video chat to preserve holiday traditions. It’s always fun to thank your loved ones for a gift right when you open it. Wait until everyone can join a video chat, then take turns opening up presents to ooh and ahh at all the fun gifts.XResearch source
- Let the little ones go first! Kids are probably eager to get to their gifts.