As a result of the ongoing pandemic and quarantine rules in effect, families across the U.S. may celebrate the holidays a bit differently this year. Most of the country currently faces travel or large gathering restrictions. At the same time, others may face spending the holidays in quarantine.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Stay Connected With Family You Normally See During the Holidays
- How to Stay Connected With Other Long-Distance Relatives or Loved Ones
- How to Stay Connected or Remember Deceased Family Members
Finding ways of staying connected to family during the holidays in quarantine can be challenging. Having to give up your yearly holiday travel plans doesn’t sound like any fun for those itching for a break from the ordinary. Managing holiday stress and avoiding depression brought on by quarantine may seem untenable, but you can achieve it with the right outlook.
How to Stay Connected With Family You Normally See During the Holidays
Staying connected with your loved ones that you would normally see during the holidays is relatively simple if you learn to or already embrace technology. Sure, the holidays aren’t the same without those in-person visits you’re used to. You may have been looking forward to seeing everyone, but when mandatory changes of plan are in order, here are some ways you can still enjoy the holidays:
1. Schedule a Zoom meeting
Zoom meetings are becoming even more popular around the holidays now that travel restrictions affect some areas. Zoom has lifted the usual forty-minute time-limit on free virtual video conferences for a limited time during the holidays.
Set a time and date to meet, and ask your friends and relatives to join you for a festive virtual gathering. Expect the time online to go by relatively quickly, but still take the time to outline a loose idea of things to keep everyone entertained. You may want to record the session so that everyone can remember this unusual holiday celebration in the years to come.
2. Request or give cooking lessons
Some people will be spending the holidays confined to their homes for the first time this year because of quarantine. Many of those may never have before cooked or prepared a holiday meal. The family traditions of everyone meeting at grandma’s or your favorite aunt’s house are things of the past, at least for the remainder of this holiday season.
Offering to give or receiving holiday meal preparation lessons is a fun way to stay connected to your loved ones. Sharing cooking tips and special recipes also help establish legacies on a smaller scale by passing down family recipes to the next generation.
3. Take selfies
What’s a holiday get-together without taking loads of pictures to keep the memories alive? To keep things fun and entertaining, ask everyone to take selfies or pictures of how they prepared for and spent the day leading up to the big meal or other planned celebration.
You can maintain some of the favorite traditions alive by having a virtual ugly sweater contest by everyone donning an ugly sweater and sharing photos via text. Another fun way to incorporate selfies into the mix is by organizing a holiday selfie scavenger hunt. You can have your scavenger hunt outdoors, in your home, or any other place where you’re able to be without violating quarantine. Send out a list to everyone participating and set a timeline for the game to end. Some simple and fun ideas are a selfie with:
- A snowman
- Baking holiday cookies
- Next to a wreath
- With Santa
- Your household relatives in pajamas
4. Share a blessing
Sharing a meal or some quality family time together during this holiday season is nearly impossible to do without risking breaking the temporary restrictions on large gatherings or travel to and from some areas.
For those families who can’t be together, consider sharing a blessing and connectivity in smaller doses by using features on your phone that allow you to video chat with one another. Some of the more popular apps to try are Messenger, Facetime, GoogleDuo, Zoom, and Whatsapp. Most, if not all, are available to download and use for free.
How to Stay Connected With Other Long-Distance Relatives or Loved Ones
Staying connected when you live far away from your relatives is still possible even during quarantine. You can show someone you care from far away in many unique ways that are sure to bring a smile to their face and yours.
When remembering your loved ones, be sure to include those who may need a little extra pick-me-up this season. Your loved ones who’ve suffered through losses may be incredibly lonely and vulnerable during the holidays. Here are some ways to bring joyful cheer without having to leave your house.
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5. Make phone calls
Staying connected is as simple as picking up the phone and calling on your relatives whom you haven’t seen or spoken with in a while. Reconnecting with your loved ones is a great way to celebrate the holidays, especially when distance keeps you apart. Try not to let your anxiety of making that phone call get in the way.
If it helps you to break the ice, jot down some notes on the highlights of your year. Remember to ask questions to see how they’ve been doing. The gift of conversation goes a long way in spreading holiday cheer.
6. Send flowers
Receiving an unexpected holiday bouquet is not only fun, but it can certainly brighten someone’s day. Think of your elderly relatives or those that aren’t able to get out to enjoy the fresh air when deciding on who to send flowers to.
Everyone enjoys receiving flowers, and they’re known to be some of nature’s immediate mood boosters.
7. Update your social media
Make use of your social media accounts to stay connected with your family living far away. Three is no more convenient way to send out announcements, update your photos, or send holiday greetings than through your social media accounts.
Certain apps like Facebook let you create a private group to invite your close friends and family to share their most private photos, updates, and memories. Keep your information and account up to date, and remember those relatives who may not have access to technology or know how to use it.
8. Spread holiday cheer
The days of handwritten notes are now a bygone era. This holiday season, try penning a few personal words to your relatives and including them inside a DIY holiday card. For added joy and happiness, print some of your favorite photos to send their way. Consider labeling the image to let them know who’s in it and where you were when you took it. Unforgettable memories are fun to share and receive, especially when you and your loved ones have been apart.
How to Stay Connected or Remember Deceased Family Members
Celebrating the holidays after losing a loved one can bring feelings of guilt, sadness, and shame, especially if this is the first holiday season since their death. You may be confused about how to feel or act when it comes to staying connected with your loved one who’s died.
Consider some of the following suggestions for remembering deceased loved ones at Christmas:
9. Rely on your faith
When the holidays feel hard, it helps turn to your spirituality or religious beliefs to help you get through the most challenging days ahead. Many people draw strength from their higher power and their spiritual beliefs when they’re feeling at their lowest.
If you aren’t the spiritual or religious type but still have faith that everything will work itself out, count on your inner strength to see you through. Take things one day at a time as the holidays approach.
10. Set up a holiday memorial table
The holidays just wouldn’t be complete without a special place set aside for your loved one who’s died. Although it may be painful to remember your loved one, it helps you in your grief journey when you come to terms with your loss. The holidays may be emotionally unbearable as you struggle to accept your loss.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting your pain and sorrow. A holiday memorial table set up in remembrance of those who’ve died may help you when you’re struggling through the holidays.
11. Create DIY ornaments
Another way to stay connected to or remember your deceased loved ones is by creating DIY decorations from the mementos left behind by your loved ones.
Consider trimming the tree with strands of grandma’s pearls or turning her costume jewelry into bejeweled ornaments with special meaning. You can have those around you participate in this holiday project to bring everyone closer and remember those who’ve died.
12. Hold a candlelight vigil or memorial
A beautiful way to remember your departed loved ones is by holding a vigil by candlelight on Christmas or New Year’s eve. A vigil is a time set aside to pray for the dead. Traditionally it’s held after death and before the burial to keep a watchful eye on the deceased’s body.
You can still honor someone after their death through a memorial service in observance of the holidays. There are many religious and nonreligious prayers and poems available online that you can recite during this time.
Staying Connected to Family While Quarantined
The pandemic has made spending the holidays with family somewhat challenging this season. But with some creativity, it’s still possible to share in some holiday joy even while apart. Quarantine rules are in place to protect everyone and to minimize the risk of severe illness or death.
You can still make this year a holiday season to remember with the right attitude even in quarantine.