2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, but that doesn’t mean people will want to forgo celebrating this holiday season. The realities of navigating togetherness during a pandemic means that virtual togetherness is our best bet to spend quality time with friends and family while staying as safe as possible. Here are some tips to smooth out some of the inherent awkwardness of virtual calls and infuse some fun as well.
Set a Time Limit
Avoid a Zoom call that drags on and on by limiting your party to anywhere from 30-90 minutes. Whatever your chosen activity, it’s better to have a short party that leaves people refreshed and grateful they attended—not bored.
Play a Game
Minimize long silences and keep the party going by playing a game together. From holiday bingo to trivia, there are tons of ideas and templates available online to keep friends and family engaged. Another option would be to use something like Jackbox, which is an online platform that offers multiplayer games.
Winter Cocktail Party (BYOB)
Explore fun and festive cocktails and/or mocktails online. Send out an ingredients list to your group ahead of the call, and let the celebration begin! You can make these drinks before the party for a sip-and-chat happy hour, or attempt to make drinks together and show off your mixology skills over Zoom.
Virtual Secret Santa
Set a budget, use an online name generator to assign gifts (or gag gifts!), then arrange to send them so that everyone can open them together at your virtual event. Physical gifts are great, but given the hassle of shipping right now, online gift cards, gift donations and subscriptions can make this a little easier on everyone.
Host a Virtual Watch Party
Who doesn’t love holiday movies? If you have a favorite, consider watching it virtually with loved ones via Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party). To keep the watch party flowing smoothly, consider creating a short list of your favorite movies or shorts and having people vote ahead of time.
And, when all else fails…
Sometimes it’s easier to create a festive atmosphere when someone else does the organizing! Depending on your tastes and budget, you may decide that having some assistance is worthwhile for you. Sites like TeamBuilding offer many different kinds of virtual parties that are facilitated by a host to keep everyone engaged and to facilitate any tech issues that might arise. There are also numerous sites that offer virtual tasting parties, like Sommelier Company, Open Door Tea and Mongers Provisions.
When it comes down to it, spending time with our loved ones is worth the technical learning curve.