How to Enjoy a Virtual Family Christmas

It was sometime in October that my oldest daughter began preparing me with the idea that she wouldn’t be home for the holidays.

I wanted no part of the conversation. After all, I’ve had 29 Christmasses with my girl…29 years of traditions and memories…and the thought of not having her home after a trying 2020, was a bit too much for this momma to bear.

Mid-November, early on a Saturday morning, I awoke to a video that put everything in perspective…and the realization hit me that this was not…all about me.

You see, Emily lives in Spain with her wonderful partner but due to Covid restrictions, won’t be able to travel to visit family and friends in Germany, let alone come home to Canada like she normally would. Plus, their plans for making the best of it and going skiing in Spain, were also canceled due to the pandemic.

So…it got us thinking about ways that our family can enjoy a bit of time together, albeit apart…and here’s what we came up with.

1. Light Show Group Chat:

Grab the hot chocolate, jump in the car, turn up the holiday tunes, and explore your neighborhood from the safety of your car! Check out all of the beautiful light displays but here’s the twist…take LOTS of photos, then add them to a family group chat so others can share in the joy. PLUS, you’ll get to see lights from different locations…in our case, from Spain to Vancouver to Halifax and beyond…

2. Gingerbread House Competition:

What’s better than a zoom call with family? How about a zoom call with a competition attached!

We challenged each other to create a gingerbread house and show our creations at our weekly zoom call and it was an absolute blast. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for a bit of fun!

3. Family Sing- A-Long:

Can’t get together and carrol through the neigbourbood? On your next zoom chat, host a family sing-along complete with ukeleles, guitars, and whatever other instruments you have around.

The Von Trappe’s we are not…but singing a few holiday favourites (leaving out “I’ll be Home for Christmas”) will surely be a bit of fun. I plan on putting together a slide show of lyrics so we aren’t all singing different words…and you can even give online karaoke a try if you don’t want to zoom. But, regardless of your ability to sing or not…surely a sing-along will bring a lot of laughs.

4. Baking Date:

Another idea… pick a date, pick a recipe each and send it out to your family to gather the ingredients, then turn on the video call and get baking! You can each share a recipe and have others bake along with you…or you can each do your own thing and just have the chat going to keep one another company. Regardless of how you do it…baking together is always a fun time, even if you’re doing it from a distance this year.

5. Online Games:

Have you always played a game of scrabble with your grandmother during the holidays? Well, jump online and play it virtually instead! In fact, there are plenty of games that you can play with one another including Houseparty, Among Us, Drawsaurus, and Psych to name a few. Grab your phones…download a game…and join in the fun!

6. Decorate with Photos:

AND…that video that arrived early one Saturday morning that got me realizing it wasn’t all about me…was this one. Where, since she’ll be missing being home with family this year, my girl filled her tree with photos of those she loves.

And you should too!

This year, the holidays will look a whole lot different for each and every one of us but with a bit of planning, and technology at our fingertips…we can keep a few traditions, and even start a few new ones…from afar.

Until we’re together again.

Happy holidays to each and every one of you.

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