Fun Ideas For Socially Distant Holiday Celebrations

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A hand writing a knock knock joke in a lined notebook with an orange penWith the holidays upon us, I know we’re all wishing for a time in the last few years when things looked “normal.” When we could get together with our families, hug and kiss our loved ones, and sit around a big table in an indoor living room where we could laugh together (or fight together?) for hours. For many of us, that is what the holidays are about.  

Unfortunately, that is not what this year is going to look like for most of us. With the covid risks associated with travel and congregating in groups, many people will be staying put and celebrating the holidays either with their immediate family or with a larger group of loved ones on a video conferencing platform. 

While these types of gatherings can get a little hectic (by now we all know what happens when three people start talking at once while on Zoom!), there are some ways to make it fun. Here are some ideas that you can use specifically for your holiday celebrations. 

Create a Recipe Exchange

While it’s very likely that everyone will be in their own home for the holidays, it doesn’t mean that you can’t all be eating the same food! Start an email chain with the guests who usually make dishes for your holiday gatherings and ask them for their recipes.

If you bring the sweet potatoes every year, send that recipe out. If someone else makes your favorite green bean casserole, find out how to make it. That way, when you are all on a call together, you have a few extra things to talk about AND you have the same meal as everyone else. 

Have a Craft Contest

It’s time to start thinking outside of the box. For this year’s holiday celebrations, have a craft contest. For Thanksgiving, everyone has to make (or has the option of making if you want to be nice!) a turkey out of household items. It can be a drawn picture, a sculpture, a face mask – anything that one can make with the things already in their house. For Chanukah people can make a menorah, for Christmas, a Christmas tree – you get the idea. 

Have everyone present their craft one at a time and have the kids judge the adults. The winner of this year’s contest gets to be the judge of next year’s contest as a reward. Have some fun with it! We all need a little more fun in our lives right now. 

Plan the Jokes

While everyone is eating their meal, it can be tough to keep conversation going. If you have a group of ten or twenty people on Zoom, it’s usually easiest if one person is talking at a time. To help avoid that issue, ask everyone to bring a joke or a riddle with them to the meal.

One at a time, throughout the meal or whenever you feel like it’s needed, have people take turns telling their jokes or riddles. Ask that people raise their hands if they think they know the answer and the joke teller can call on them. It may seem silly, but having an organized activity that involves people speaking – but not everyone speaking at once – can be an asset to this kind of gathering. 

Tell a Story About an Object

Here’s one for the kids! While everyone is eating and once the kids begin getting restless, have each kid tell a story about an object that is relevant to the holiday. This can be for kids as little as 3 (everyone loves those cute stories about pickles who fly around on ninjas) all the way up to embarrassing one of the older kids.

Find an object around the house or on the table. It can even be an object that someone at another house is holding up. Ask the child to tell the group a story. If they aren’t comfortable, don’t push them. This should be enjoyable and a chance to give all the little ones the spotlight in a sea of adult conversation. 

Charades Anyone? 

When all of the eating is over and the kids have run off to watch television, color or play video games, try playing a game of charades with whomever is left on Zoom. It would be most helpful if there are at least two people at each location so that one person can do the physical miming and the other can monitor the shouting from the guessers. 

Give the charades a theme (the holiday, favorite music/tv shows, etc.) and have fun with it! Sit back, laugh and enjoy being in your friends and family’s company even if you can’t be directly in their presence.

Come Prepared

The key to this type of celebration is to be prepared. Do your grocery shopping well before you will need to be cooking (in this day and age, you can’t be sure that everything you need will be at that first store), collect any props you need, get your craft done and put together your jokes and riddles. And if you are managing incontinence, make sure that you have your Depend Silhouette Underwear already in your cabinet so that it is the last thing you’ll have to worry about. 

In this day and age, we have to make the most of what we have. This isn’t easy and it isn’t going to get any easier in the short-term, so instead of wallowing, come up with creative ways to enjoy the moments you can. These are the years that we will be telling our grandchildren about and they will be telling their grandchildren, so it would be great for them to have these anecdotes about how you handled it as well. Happy holidays! 

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