(image by John Schnobrich via Unsplash)
Rules have been made and we’re all being asked to do our part to flatten the curve and celebrate the holidays virtually.
As heartbreaking as this is I agree something needs to be done. This awful virus has already taken enough from us. It’s disappointing that we were not able to stop it sooner and end off 2020 on a high note with our families. But this isn’t in the cards for us now.
We have all been asked to celebrate the holidays virtually and I’m hoping to help.
I’ve reached out on Facebook, Instagram and through private groups. What can one do to celebrate from afar with their friends and family. For most of us this will be a first, myself included. For all 37 years of my life I have celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family. My daughters, who are 9 and 4 have never known a Christmas without their nana and papa. It’s not going to be easy, but different doesn’t have to be bad.
If we reach deep enough, we can pull out a memorable holiday that will go down in history. One that will never be forgotten. The one where we celebrated with our loved ones from a screen.
(Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash)
Taboo – played in teams, the point of the game is you must get your team to say the secret word. The catch is you cannot use a list of taboo words to help them guess.
Skribbl – think Pictionary but virtually. One player at a time gets a word to draw out. Players guess and are issued points based on how fast they get the answer right.
JackBox – a platform where you can play an infinite amount of games, virtually. You will find something that everyone loves, and if I may, this 4-player Christmas game, Rubber Bandits: Christmas Prologue looks hilarious?!
Code Names – Spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their codenames. The spymasters take turns giving one-word clues to help their teammates reach the agents in the field without running into the assassin.
Board Game Arena – Create a private room for your group, pick a game, play. Really that simple and probably the most options in games from any platform I’ve seen. Anywhere from Yahtzee, Chess and Backgammon to 7 Wonders, Stone Age and Kingdomino.
Watson Adventures – Bring together family and friends for morale-boosting games that engage your brain and your funny bone. Your team can prove your trivia mastery; solve puzzles to crack a murder mystery; search museums for answers to fun questions; or just get hang out for a laugh.
Pogo – another grand platform home to many different games for all ages. From card games, to board games and even BINGO! Something for all levels of play.
(photo via Facebook PORTAL)
VIDEO CALLING & STREAMING
Houseparty – a face to face social network that you can connect with your friends and family to play games, karaoke and socialize. You can have up to 8 people (homes) in a ‘room’ at once; available for iOS, Android and Chrome.
Zoom – a simple platform that allows you to gather with friends and family virtually from your phone, tablet or computer. Make note that without a paid for upgrade you have a 40 minute timer set for gatherings.
Skype – Video calling with friends and family with one click! No sign ups. No downloads required. Can be used on your phone, tablet, desktop or your web browser.
Facebook Messenger Rooms – Can be joined from nearly anywhere (Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Portal) making this the most versatile video calling platforms. It has no time limits and can accommodate up to 50 people in your room. For larger groups, try messenger rooms for desktops
Facebook PORTAL – Probably the coolest option here today (in my opinion), Facebook PORTAL allows you to meet with friends and family with ease. Smart video-calling with Alexa built-in, these awesome little portals follow you as you move around the room and make virtual gathering over the holidays as natural as it gets.
Teleparty (Netflix) – a new way to watch TV with your family and friends online. Teleparty synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and HBO. Setup for a night of Christmas movies with family from afar and don’t worry about having to share your snacks!
(Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash)
CREATIVE IDEAS TO CONNECT, VIRTUALLY
Virtual Scavenger Hunt: Have each home participating prepare a list of 5-10 things. Each home takes turns calling out an item and whichever family gets back to the screens first wins the round. Virtual prizes can be awarded like Starbucks or Amazon gift cards – that or simple bragging rights!
Music & Video Nostalgia: Each family in advance choose a few videos from the past that they cherish. Have one family member collect the videos and compile them in private YouTube playlist. Gather everyone together over Zoom and watch them online. Remise of the good’ol days!
Mario Party: If you’re a family that enjoys video games, and you all find yourselves with a Nintendo Switch the perfect game for the holidays has got to be Mario Party. Spend the night playing mini games virtually, setup a Skype call so you can laugh the night away and see dad try his hand at virtual bowling. Buy the game here: Amazon CAN or Amazon US
Virtual Craftnight: Get creative and figure out a fun craft idea. Have it be a Wreath, Christmas Slime, you know your audience best – everyone go out and pick up materials. Come together online through Zoom, Skype, Messenger Rooms or Houseparty and let the fun begin.
Virtual Open House: Just like a traditional open house, people can come and go as they please. Open up a Messenger Room or Houseparty Group and share the link around. Let people come and go as they please. Connect be social and have a virtual drink with friends and family all over the world.
Read My Lips: While on video chat, take turns turning off your microphone and speaking a short phrase or sentence. Whoever can correctly guess what you’re saying first gets a point. The first person to 10 wins. So simple yet so fun.
Gingerbread Competition: Every home pick up a gingerbread house and decorating treats. Keep it fair and ensure all buy the same house. Come together over Zoom, get your drinks and set the timer. All families for themselves. Let the competition begin. End if with choosing a winner by vote on social media.
Virtual Baking: Grab that beloved family cookie recipe and bake together in the kitchen, virtually. Everyone make sure they have the ingredients before the big night, come together on Zoom, Skype, or your preferred platform and let the baking begin.
Cook & Dine Together: Setup that tablet on a stack or books, or better yet grab a Facebook Portal and make life REALLY EASY! Have everyone get ingredients for the same meal, or order a meal service from a place like Fresh Prep. Cook together, eat together, laugh together. All of my favorite memories involve my family and good food.
Take-out and Hang-out: Very simply put, everyone order their favorite take-out (or order from the same spot) and come together at the dinner table. Setup the tablet and chat at one long virtual table.
This years Christmas Holiday is going to be very different, however that doesn’t mean it has to be a let down. If we come together and get creative it can be one of the most memorable Christmases yet. The one where we stayed apart so that we could be together again.
Above all, if you have any more idea’s that I didn’t include, let me know in the comments I will update it as you send them in. Let’s help one another create lasting virtual memories on this VERY COVID CHRISTMAS.
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