How to Celebrate The Holidays Virtually

‘Tis the season for an endless string of holiday events, from office Christmas parties to family secret Santas—but it’s going to look quite different this year. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it’s more important now to remain socially distant to keep our communities and loved ones safe. While it’s a bummer to not be able to gather with loved ones this winter, that doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected and maintain some holiday traditions. This year, consider these virtual holiday party ideas to enjoy the season while maintaining safe distance and boundaries.

virtual holiday party ideas

Share family photos

While we may not be able to be with our families physically this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t connect and reminisce on times when we were able to be together. Consider creating a shared folder that all family members can drop their old family photos into and then hop onto a Zoom call. Have the host share their screen and look through all the old photos together. As an added bonus everyone with access to the folder will walk away with easy access to family photos they’d probably forgotten about without having to dig out old albums.

Virtual game night

If you love getting together with friends for a game night or board games are a staple holiday activity for your family, consider carrying on the tradition virtually this year. While we can’t gather around a single board, lots of games translate well to be played via Zoom. Games like Codenames and Settlers of Catan have virtual counterparts that are easy to play with loved ones no matter where they are geographically. If you want to mix it up from traditional in person games, consider party games like games by Jackbox that allow all players to connect from their phones.

Recipe exchange

In my opinion, preparing and sharing food with loved ones is one of the best parts of the holiday season. To keep that tradition alive, send out the recipes that you would have brought to this year’s holiday potluck. Everyone can prepare the same food before joining a virtual holiday party which will make it feel more like gathering for real.

To take this one step further, consider doing a virtual cooking party and actually cook meals together during a video call. Each person can lead a course, send out grocery lists ahead of time, and talk everyone through how to prepare the meal. Once you’re ready to eat, put on a shared Spotify playlist to feel like you’re all dining together.

Secret Santa

Exchanging gifts is a classic tradition during the winter holiday season and one that doesn’t have to end due to quarantine. A secret Santa is perfect because you’ll only have to worry about getting a physical item to one person. If your friends and family live locally, you may even be able to drop off your secret Santa gift during a drive by visit and get to see that person in some capacity. If people are more spread out, make a list of addresses so that people can have their gifts delivered to their recipients and maintain the surprise.

Virtual night out

Many of us are really missing meeting up with friends for a nice night out at our favorite restaurants this year. If you want to support your local restaurants try planning a virtual night out with a few friends. Everyone can order takeout from the same restaurant to be delivered around the same time. With services like Tock, you may even be able to find an awesome offering from that fine dining restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. As an added bonus, use YouTube videos to set the right ambience and eat the meal virtually with a group of friends.

Attend virtual events

If you find yourself longing for your favorite events, consider getting a group together to attend them virtually. This year has forced industries to get creative in how they offer their services to the public and many have adapted and found ways to offer virtual events. A quick Google search will lead you to virtual events from performances to cooking classes, to group workouts, to museum exhibitions that you can attend with all of your friends.

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About Kira Schreiber

Kira grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is passionate about mental health, healthy eating, and sustainability. After spending the first part of her career working for a non profit mental health agency in Southern California, she transitioned to pursue a career in her passion for cooking. Now back in Chicago, Kira spends her days developing healthy recipes for a food tech start up. When not in the kitchen or on her laptop she loves spending time outdoors, hitting up a spin class, or watching home decor DIYs on YouTube.