Face it. This year will likely not have many of the face-to-face holiday events that generally punctuate this time of year. The caroling, the office parties, the family reunions, the open houses – all will be reduced or postponed.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great holiday. It just means you will have to see and do things differently.
This may be the biggest challenge for so many because it’s hard to see things differently. We get connected to our habits and traditions, even the outdated and unhappy ones. Sometimes doing what we know (even when it is not our favorite) seems to be preferable over doing something different.
But I’m going to challenge that perspective. COVID-19 showed us we can shift and accommodate to new things, different things and change (in general). Sometimes, we need a hard lesson to show us we are more capable than we think.
Ok, so the face-to-face events can’t happen. What could we consider doing instead that will still provide the connection, celebration and fun that we associate with the holidays?
For purposes of this post, let’s say your method to connect is through Zoom or other similar technology. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas you can consider to help you still celebrate from a distance.
- Holiday ZoomMaskathon. Since masks are one of the best ways to keep ourselves safe, why not have a holiday mask competition? Create some guidelines and share them with your family and friends. It could be a neighborhood block party or a holiday open house that has everyone showing up with their best holiday mask (with proper social distancing if on-site) or modeled effectively if hosting via Zoom. Have all participants share their top 3 choices for best mask. The host tabulates the scores and awards the prizes.
- ZoomTrim – Decorating or trimming a Christmas tree is frequently a time when neighbors and family assemble to celebrate and decorate together. Get a tripod and focus your phone or camera on the tree as you and the family do the decoration. Spend 10 or 15 minutes visiting and getting decorating advice from those you are sharing time with. Have them guide where to hang ornaments or to place decorations to help them feel part of the celebration and to have their contribution in your decorating.
- ZoomSong – The holidays are famous for the music. Have your family Zoom your friends and share a carol / holiday sing-along. Invite your friends – both local and distant – to share their favorite seasonal song(s) and carol back.
- ZoomView – Create a neighborhood or family holiday Zoom background competition (the background that shows when you are on Zoom). Give a prize for the most creative, most festive, most family involved or other category that encourages great creativity.
- ZoomTour – We spend time and care decorating our houses for the holidays, both inside and out. Conduct a virtual tour to walk family and friends through the inside and outside of the house to share your decorations, stories and how you are celebrating. Take a video of the tour and post it to your preferred social media channel to share your decorations with all of your family and friends.
- Zoomoration – Holiday pastries, particularly holiday cookies, are a tradition for many. Zoomoration is a Zoom cookie decorating call where all participants decorate cookies, tell stories, sing carols and chat, just like the way you would if you were face-to-face.
- ZoomRekindle – Zoom gives you the ability to engage with those you are rarely able to see right now because they live across town, across the country or across the world. Set up a Rekindle date each week to reconnect with those from different points in your life – to share how you and your family have done in 2020 and how you are celebrating the holidays.
- ZoomWalk – Walk through your neighborhood while connected to Zoom to share your neighborhood’s lights and decorations. Imagine that you are walking in person with those on the Zoom call, chatting about what you see, what they make you think of and how they make you feel.
- ZoomkeSwap – Many organizations and families host a Yankee Swap each year. Assign a number to every person participating and one by one, in order, each person can take an existing opened gift or open a new one. Done remotely, a host can assemble all of the gifts and do as each person requests – to keep an existing gift or have the host open something new. At the end, the host sends gifts to each participant. These could be done as gift cards or other electronic gifts to make it easy to share.
- StoryZoom – Like a story room, set up a time to share story of a tradition or holiday experience you remember, including how you celebrate, why and who is generally at your celebrations. Appreciate the wide variety of traditions and ways to celebrate. This could also be a great event for families with small children who would love to hear their grandparents read Christmas stories, like The Night Before Christmas or The Polar Express.
Which of these ideas inspired you or your family? See the opportunity to create new traditions because of the significant advancements in technology that allow us to still connect with those we love, even when we can’t be together.
Don’t let the COVID interruption dampen your celebration or holiday spirit. Focus on the feelings behind the events you used to do and replace them with new ways to evoke the same or similar feelings. The sky is the limit. Invent something new, fun and different. In the process, you may find better and more amazing traditions that will stay with you going forward.
Involve your friends and family in ways to connect remotely that allow you to still experience the feelings of the holiday season. You will be surprised how capable you are at building something new when you focus on the feelings behind the actions. Brainstorm ideas and try them out. The only rules? Stay safe and have fun.
By Jay Forte
This article also appeared on Thrive Global on November 17, 2020.
Consider reading Make The Moments Count