With smaller gatherings and a focus on virtual celebrations, this year’s holiday celebration won’t look like those from years past. However, just because things are different there’s no reason to ignore the importance of spending time with your loved ones, even if it’s virtual.
To make the most out of these new ways of celebrating, it helps to focus on some basic tips. These can help make virtual gatherings feel more natural and give everyone something to truly celebrate.
Give Advanced Notice
One of the nice things about celebrating virtually is that distance is no longer an impediment to seeing each other's happy faces. Instead of having to deal with all the hassles that come from traveling during the holiday season, a video chat makes it easy for people in any time zone to get together.
Still, you want to make sure to give advanced notice and schedule your virtual celebration as far out as possible. If members of your family have spouses or partners, they may have to hop from video chat to video chat to make sure they can see and celebrate with everyone. Deciding on a date and time for your online festivities makes it easier to schedule those chats.
Create an Agenda
An agenda can be as detailed as you need it to be. Maybe you just want to make sure you know when members of your family are hopping on to chat. Maybe you want to have a detailed minute-by-minute breakdown so you can ensure you get to do all the things you want to do together.
This is also the time to decide how long you’d like the virtual celebration to last. Some people like leaving their chat on all day so they can converse as they go about preparing their holiday meal. This can help it feel like you’re “hanging out” together.
Of course, some people may prefer a shorter or more focused get-together, or they may only be available for a short period. Knowing who prefers what and when can help prevent unneeded chaos.
Treat It Like a Holiday
The holidays should still be treated like the holidays. Even if everyone is in their own separate houses, plan on treating it like such. For families with young children, have them open the presents on the video chat so you can still see their faces light up as they unwrap their new favorite toy.
This is a time to be festive, so don’t be afraid to dress up or have a theme to the day, such as an ugly sweater party. You can also prepare some of your favorite holiday meals or even share a recipe and have everyone prepare a dish together. By doing things together, even virtually, you can still maintain that holiday spirit.
Help Those New to Video Chats
This year has given some people plenty of experience when it comes to the variety of video chat software available. Others, though, may still be new to the idea and need some help getting the software up and running.
So, it may be beneficial to set up a practice session with people who haven’t video chatted before. This can cut down on the amount of real-time troubleshooting you need to do on the holiday, which can take away from the celebration and add frustration to everyone’s plate.
This is also a good time to test out any new equipment you may have purchased, such as a microphone or computer camera. During your practice session, you may realize that it’s difficult for others to hear you or see you with your current set-up. Those minor adjustments now will make the day-of that much better.
Play a Game Together
A family game is always a fun way to ring in the holiday season. There are games you can play online with each other, such as trivia games. However, if everyone has the same board game, you can also all play together virtually.
Online gaming platforms have become very popular over the past few years, especially these past few months. You should be able to find a game that’s fun to play together, even if some of you haven’t played it before. This can also spark a new tradition or lead to a weekly game session to help keep everyone connected.
Focus on the Positives
There’s no doubt this year has been difficult. If you’ve lost someone in your family, it will feel good to spend time recognizing the way they contributed to all of your lives. If you’re going through troubled times, it will also feel good to focus on those you care about most.
To help keep spirits high, take time to delight in any of your accomplishments this year. They don’t have to be world-changing, but you deserve to feel good about the things you’ve done this year to better yourself and those around you.
If it feels awkward to celebrate good news while loved ones are experiencing something less positive, it may help to spend time expressing your love and gratitude toward others on the video chat. For instance, you can mention how proud you are of your family members for persevering through a tough year.
Prepare for Small Gatherings
If you’re planning on holding a small gathering, make sure to follow all local and national health guidelines. As part of those guidelines, make sure that if you’re celebrating with anyone outside your immediate household that everyone is wearing a mask.
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