COVID-19 and the Holidays: How To Stay Virtually Connected To Loved Ones

We build our communities on encouraging engagement and family sharing, but the current pandemic makes these objectives obsolete, at least in-person. To protect residents and the general population, government and organizational issued quarantines limit intimacy and holiday celebrating. Thankfully, technology provides an opportunity to cure some of the loneliness we may feel from COVID 19 and the holidays. We can still celebrate the holiday season together through standard devices and platforms, only in unique ways.

Make a Phone Call or Text

Most people, even those 55+, have a mobile phone or smartphone. Phones now are not the same as old rotary phones. Today, cellular devices allow for videos, pictures, and text. While not everyone will have a high tech smartphone, every person likely has a way to make or receive a call and a text.

If you feel lonely, or if you have an elderly loved one you cannot visit with, take a few minutes out of your day to call and say hello. It is likely best to stay in touch with today’s solitude every day with a simple text or phone call just to check-in.

Use a Tablet, Computer, or Phone to Video Chat

If you own a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, you still have the opportunity to see the ones you love. While video chats will not allow physical contact, it can make a world of difference on your emotions merely seeing a familiar face. Using FaceTime, Zoom, or other friendly and free apps, you can organize a group video call to see everyone and celebrate.

Share Streaming Services Through Watch Parties

Do you and your family like having movie nights? Some apps, such as Netflix, now allow watch parties, where you can invite friends and family to watch a movie with you over the platform, sharing commentary through a message board. The one downside is that everyone has to have a Netflix account for this to work.

Have a Virtual Meal

Are you sad that you can’t gather around the holiday dinner table with your children this year? What’s stopping you? True, COVID-19 and state regulations will not allow in-person gatherings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still share a holiday meal: set up your tablet or computer on the dinner table and hold a virtual meal or dinner party. While everyone may not have the same food, they can still be gathered in a single place, sharing a meal with loved ones. Virtual meals might not be the same as tradition dictates, but it is closer to normal than anything else at the moment.

Make Memories With Your Grandchildren

For our community members, a significant hardship has been the lack of contact with their grandchildren. Everyone knows how fleeting childhood is and how vital early memories are in solidifying an impactful presence. While this year is challenging, there is no reason you need to stop making an impression. Like Readeo, new platforms allow grandparents to spend virtual story time with their grandkids, remaining an integral part of their daily routines.

While all-in-one applications make such interactions simpler, there is no reason you need to subscribe to anything. You can use other free apps, like Zoom, to schedule video chats with your grandkids. During these sessions, you can choose to read to them or talk to them, whatever you want.

COVID-19 created a year that we will never forget, but it does not have to put an end to all holiday activities. Granted, we all need to make sacrifices this year by staying home and avoiding contact, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate together through technology and virtual gatherings.

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