Embracing Tradition Virtually: Celebrate And Connect This Season With These Four Fun Tips
Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, or Kwanza this holiday season, there are so many great traditions to celebrate with family and friends. From hanging up childhood ornaments with the family to the lighting of the Menorah or Kinara, we all have a favorite holiday tradition (or food) that gets us most excited to spend time with each other, reflect on how far we have come, and embrace what there is to celebrate ahead.
With anything and everything celebration shifting online, why not take up every virtual opportunity possible? Make the holiday season a little bit brighter for your friend or family member whose favorite time of year feels a little different by gathering together with friends and family to celebrate in fun new ways – or, organize a group gift and contribute towards a gift they will really love.
The holiday season is truly all about connection. Although our favorite traditions are taking a less-than-traditional turn, here are six fun and interactive ways to cherish and celebrate your family and friends, no matter the physical distance!
Watch A Movie/TV Marathon: Zoom-Style
The great holiday movies out there are endless. From Rom-Coms to Thrillers, there is something out there for everyone! (My personal favorites are the classics… where are the Charlie Brown lovers at?) There are also a ton of great watch lists out there, for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza!
Try Zoom to watch movies together by sharing your screen when on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, or Amazon Prime videos. A great feature to note is the private chat option on Zoom, which is perfect for those who like to chat during the movie but don’t want to disrupt the whole group’s viewing. Or, try Teleparty, a great extension that allows you to sync your video playback and adds a group chat function to Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO!
Innovative ways to connect virtually
Mix up the typical zoom chat with a fun and interactive way to learn more about your fam. The Escape Game provides an experience that is so immersive, it doesn’t even feel virtual at all! The group is given a game guide that acts as your eyes and ears through your quest. With their help, you and your friends will hopefully escape and win the game!
One of my favorite family activities is playing board games on holiday – and many of them are still available online! My personal favorite is Scattergories, which can be played with group members of all ages. How it works: there is one letter and five categories (like “stocking stuffers” or “candle names”), and each player has 60 seconds to come up with a word that fits in each category and starts with the letter that is given. The more unique your answer is compared to the rest of the group, the more points received. The person with the most points, wins!
Make a Holiday Playlist
Have you ever wanted to be a DJ? Well, now you can be… kinda! With virtual parties, everyone on the call gets to be the DJ of the event soundtrack. Simply create a shared playlist on Apple Music or Spotify, invite the attendees to add favorite holiday carols and tunes to the roster, and press play on the big day!
There are so many fun activities that surround music. Have your guests guess who chose the song playing from the list, or throw a full-on dance party (before dinner, of course)! Or, have the tunes play in each home while everyone eats dinner, making it almost feel like you are together in the same room sharing in the holiday experience.
Create some light-hearted competition
Even during the holidays, we all know that if a quick board game gets placed on the table, or a basketball gets brought into the mix, it’s game on with our cousins or siblings! There are ways to incorporate tradition into a little virtual holiday contest, even if you can’t participate side by side.
Gingerbread houses have been a symbol of the Christmas tradition since 16th century Germany and are fun for parties of all ages. Have everyone at the virtual party pick up a gingerbread house kit prior to celebrating (bonus points if everyone makes their house pieces on their own!) When the party comes around, have everyone create their homes. Designate one non-builder as a judge, and once a winner is selected, everyone gets to enjoy their delicious handmade treat!
The spinning of the dreidel is a very important part of the Hannukah celebration. Each of the four sides have a letter associated with them, which stand for a Hebrew acronym meaning “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the miracle which Hanukkah is centered around. The dreidel is traditionally spun to win a pot of gelt, which are chocolate coins. This year, you can still play virtually! Have every family get out a dreidel, and pass it around when it becomes each member’s turn on camera. Instead of (or in addition to) gelt, you can use a platform like Venmo to transfer a couple of dollars each into a single account, which will act as the pot. The person who wins the game, receives the contributions!
The meal at Kwanzaa, called a Karamu Ya Imani, or A Feast of Faith, is held on December 31, and originally families spent the night enjoying traditional African cuisine. A fun way to prepare for this gathering with the whole family is to have everyone pick a name of a family member out of a hat. You must create a name card for the member who you are given, without writing their name, only using symbols that remind you of them. On the night of the feast, everyone has to guess who your name card was for. If the group guesses it right, you win!
Giving back this season
Across a multitude of cultures, giving back to your community is heavily embraced. Whether working with your local food bank or donating new clothes to give to a nearby shelter, it is important that we help our neighbors wherever and whenever we can.
Happy Holidays from the Presently fam!
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