3 Ways to Creatively Connect with Loved Ones this Holiday Season
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3 Ways to Creatively Connect with Loved Ones this Holiday Season

Let’s face it…this year has been anything but normal. But if it’s shown us anything, it’s that we are resilient and will get through this tough time together. We’ve also been forced to get creative in how we show up and keep in touch with friends and family.

With the holiday season approaching quickly and social distancing guidelines still in place for many states across the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are navigating through uncharted territory and having to make tough decisions regarding holiday plans. In years past, it was a no-brainer to buy a ticket home to see family and friends. This year, arguably the most thoughtful thing we can do is to stay home to ensure safety for ourselves and others.

In a time like this, it’s important for us to find safe and creative ways to connect with our loved ones. There are many ways to accomplish this, but here a few ideas to get you started.

 

HOST ONLINE GAME NIGHTS  

If I asked you to predict in 2019 how you’d be spending most of your waking hours in 2020, I doubt you would’ve guessed anything close to using online video conferencing platforms. Everything from birthday parties to baby showers have been hosted over Zoom, Google Hangout, and Skype this year (to name a few platforms). Couples have even said “I do” in front of a virtual audience. And although some may cite video conferencing app burnout, it’s a great way to host game nights and stay connected to family and friends this holiday season.

Here are just a few ideas (there are many) for games to enjoy via your favorite video conferencing platform:

  1. Pictionary- This classic game is easy to play and fun for multiple generations. To play, simply use a random word generator and then attempt to draw the displayed word. You can draw virtually via a screen share feature or go old school by drawing on a piece of paper and holding it up to the screen for all to guess.
  2. Outburst- To play, split players into two teams and pick a host. The objective of this timed board game is to write down as many items from a certain category as possible (i.e. Holiday Traditions). After the timer elapses, the more items you have on the host’s list, the more points you get.
  3. Kahoot! The online quiz generator, Kahoot!, started off as an educational tool and has now become popular in party settings. Users have the option to create an account and make customized quizzes, or, to login using a pin code to unlock previously created quizzes. Get ready to laugh at your group’s guesses in real time!

 

MAIL YOUR FAVORITE TRADITIONS OR CREATE NEW ONES

 Hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Decorating the Christmas tree with antique ornaments. Lighting the menorah. Baking great-grandma’s recipe of sugar cookies from scratch. Updating the Advent calendar. Going ice skating. Attending a local holiday craft fair. All represent holiday traditions that we look forward to and hold a special place in our hearts.

This year, however, with CDC guidelines suggesting we social distance and avoid gathering with family and friends to curb the spread of COVID-19, there’s still a creative way to stay connected with loved ones and partake in those time-honored holiday traditions “together.” Let me explain.

While not quite the same as baking together, you can still mail out dry ingredients (complete with secret family recipes) to loved ones, and then bake together via video chat as you catch up and swap stories. In my opinion, sharing memories behind traditions and past holidays is one of the best parts of the holiday season. It’s what connects multiple generations of families and keeps the memories of family and friends who have passed alive in our hearts and minds.

In a similar vein, this “send and share” tactic also works with swapping decorations such as Advent calendars. Or, shake things up and create completely new traditions and memories by sending out new ornaments, decorations, or other meaningful gifts. For example, send a loved one a picture book that you have a copy of, and then go through the pictures one by one as you stroll down memory lane. Remember to focus on unearthing the stories behind each tradition, or, if you’re creating a new one, set the origin story for years to come.

 

BE PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER   

 One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from this year’s events is that if we look beyond on our own circumstances, it’s easy to find others who desperately need our help. Besides the positive impact giving has on a cause or organization, the giver also usually experiences a boost in mental and physical health as well. Commit to finding a cause that your family and friends care about and are anxious to pour their time, talents, and dollars into. Then, have regular check-ins to report back on your giving progress!

Some options include:

  1. Giving Tuesday. Over the past 8 years, Giving Tuesday (annually held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) has grown from a simple idea that encouraged others to do good to a global generosity movement that inspires millions, according to their website. “Giving Tuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity, and equity around the globe.” Some ways to collectively give back on Giving Tuesday include: volunteering professional services for a nonprofit that may be understaffed or under-budgeted, sparking a conversation on social media by sharing why you give and inspiring others to take action, or pooling together money with family and friends to donate to a particular cause.
  2. Participate in an annual toy drive. Toy drives are a great way to spread holiday cheer and give back by donating toys to less fortunate children in need. And, there is now an easy option to select and send toys virtually. Check with your local schools, libraries, and community groups to find out how to get involved. Or, visit your local children’s hospital website or Toys for Tots for more information.
  3. Donate to a food bank. Approximately 1 in 9 Americans struggle with hunger, according to the Feeding America website. The nationwide network of food banks and pantries helps those in need via food donations and provides resources for people looking to connect with their local food bank(s). Normally, non-perishable items are encouraged as donations, however, due to stricter health guidelines this year, the best way to support the fight against hunger is through monetary donations to your local food banks.

 

CONCLUSION

Just because COVID-19 has deterred your holiday plans doesn’t mean you can’t find creative ways to stay connected to loved ones this holiday season. Follow these suggestions or use these ideas to spark your own and don’t let social distancing put a damper on your holiday cheer!

 

About Amanda Hahn-Peters

Amanda is a marketing professional based out of Los Angeles who specializes in social media marketing and copywriting. When she’s not catching up on the latest marketing trends, Amanda enjoys cycling, reading, and playing the piano. Follow Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Amanda Hahn-Peters

 

Amanda is a marketing professional based out of Los Angeles who specializes in social media marketing and copywriting. When she’s not catching up on the latest marketing trends, Amanda enjoys cycling, reading, and playing the piano. Follow Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

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