Holiday traditions have special meaning for everyone (especially kids) – and it’s easy to reimagine them online if you see everyone in person this year. Start by thinking about what makes it truly feel like Christmas. Gathering around the tree? Singing carols together? Sharing funny family stories or memories of past holidays? However you decide to celebrate, 2020 offers a unique opportunity to reflect on what we have – and what we hope for.
So load a holiday background onto Zoom or position yourself alongside your favorite wreath or tree and try some of our favorite ways to make the season bright:
1. Invite Santa and Mrs. Claus for a Visit!
The website JingleRing offers personalized virtual visits from the First Couple of Christmas, so you can gather the kids for a round of wishes before Santa heads out on his big trip.
2. Hold a Virtual Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Put one person in charge of drawing names and informing everyone of their recipient. Rather than material gifts, search for silly tribute gifts or outlandish dream gifts online. During the exchange, each person can share a photo of their “gift” and explain why they chose it.
3. Have a Gingerbread House Contest
Send gingerbread house kits to your favorite people, then get together online to decorate. Encourage original creations – and invite bakers to tell the stories behind their masterpieces as everyone enjoys a virtual hot chocolate and cookie party.
4. Host an Ugly Sweater Party
Start with a fun invite from Paperless Post, telling everyone to dig out their most outlandish holiday sweaters. Award prizes for the funniest, most original, naughtiest/nicest and downright ugliest!
6. Start a New Tradition With a Virtual Tree-Trimming Party
Once you’ve hauled your holiday tree inside and set it up in just the right spot, time to give your fellow tree-trimmers a call. Through the magic of technology, holiday decorators can sip hot chocolate together, share stories behind special ornaments – and show off their finished Christmas trees.
7. Cozy Up for Holiday Movie Night
Invite everyone to curl up on their sofas and watch a favorite Christmas movie after dinner. Use software like the Chrome extension Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party), Amazon Prime’s Watch Party or the gaming platform Discord. Hulu also has a “watch party” feature for many shows. Chat and conversation features enable real-time commentary (and plenty of laughs).
8. Get in the Holiday Game
Games like Charades, Pictionary, Taboo and TableTopics are very adaptable to online play. Only one person needs to have the actual game, and muting allows strategic side conversations. Try online games like QuizUp or Jackbox; some have participant limits, so guests can take turns.
9. Make it Up!
Consider your holiday traditions, then think-outside-box when it comes to ideas for making them virtual. Is Peppermint Bark a must during the holidays? Initiate a game of Peppermint Bark bingo amongst your favorite afficianados and everyone will have one more reason to enjoy every morsel. How about a holiday cookie show-and-tell or recipe exchange? A silly caroling contest? Kids’ scavenger hunt for gifts? A Christmas Eve pajama party? There’s no limit to the possibilities.
10. Inspire a DIY Canned Food Drive
Christmas is all about giving, so ask everyone to donate to a local food bank. Online, share stories about the joy of giving back to your community – and ideas for keeping the generosity and kindness going all year long.