Digital Ideas for Staying Connected During The Holidays

Are you wanting some digital ideas for staying connected during the holidays? You may be feeling particularly distanced from your loved ones . The holidays are traditionally the time of year that you and your family members or close friends meet up to celebrate together, however this year, it’s a bit different. It is frustrating to want to see the people you love yet COVID is restricting you and holding you back. Although you may not be able to see them in person, there are plenty of ways to connect digitally with them! 

We all appreciate being able to sit around the table together, chat and catch up, and share stories left and right. We may want to personally hand-deliver gifts or be there to watch our family open them up. Maybe you like the thrill of last minute gifts, running over to the grocery store to get their favorite bottle of wine just minutes before the scheduled dinner. 

How are we supposed to relax by the fire watching old holiday movies with our younger family members, or what about sitting with the elderly members drinking a cup of hot cocoa? This time of year provides a lot of memories and moments together. You worry that by this time next year, things may change in your family. People get older, others move away and do their own thing, etc. 

You worry that you won’t be able to truly connect with your family and friends during this time. Maybe you are feeling lonely and concerned that the holidays have to be like this. You wish it were different, but how can you possibly still meet and celebrate together? We compiled six ways you can connect with your family or friends digitally during this holiday season!

woman working on laptop

Perhaps your holidays play out like this…

You and your brother plan to get the families together every holiday season. You have kids, he has kids, and they get along really well. Your parents are also avid visitors as you and your brother switch off houses for the holidays. Family means everything to you and you want to strengthen that connection as much as possible.

Each holiday season is truly a blast. You get to relax and catch up with the adults, sipping your choice of drink while the kids squeal and play in the room over. You enjoy hearing about what’s new in their lives, how the jobs are going, what grade your kids are in now, what they are interested in, and any future plans they may hold. 

Your kids really look forward to seeing and playing with their cousins. Grandma and Grandpa always bring them fun crafts to do together and the best part is sitting around the living room together on a chilly night. You get to bake cookies together, eat a delicious, warm meal at the same table, and go out on evening walks all bundled up in the cold. 

Due to COVID, your parents are considered high risk individuals. Your brother, who just recovered from a respiratory disease, cannot risk it either. Although you are both sad about this, you know that you need to try something new this holiday season. You know that you still need to foster that bond between your families, but you’re wondering how…

woman holding a child and smiling

The truth is, it’s not going to be easy to be away from your family during the holidays.

You’re not alone in the fact that you want to connect with your close loved ones during this time, but COVID has become an annoying roadblock for you. There are still ways for you to digitally connect despite these hard limitations.

When we attempt to try out these digital ways to connect, we can still show our love and appreciation for others. Just by trying, we show that we truly want to bond with them. From free services to paid-for gifts, this guide will help you navigate digital ideas for staying connected during COVID.

At Simi Psychological Group, we value the importance of working together as a family to achieve goals and learn how to grow together. Our therapists in Simi Valley, Ca  provide families with the necessary tools, skills, and coping mechanisms to make the desired changes. We are offering online therapy in Los Angeles, Ventura County and throughout California for our family therapy services. 

Digital Ideas for Staying Connected: Hold a Group Video Chat

Although we may already be doing this, holding a group video chat is a great way to connect with your loved one virtually! You can create small groups on Facetime on your iPhone or Mac computer by simply inviting others to join your calls.

Skype offers free video chats as well for you to hold large group meetings in. Google Hangouts is another free video platform to look into as well. Zoom has been a popular platform for video chats, as you can screen share with each other, yet it can come with a price, and free sessions can only last so long. 

On the night of the holiday, consider setting up a time to meet together to hold a holiday dinner party. You can go around the members and take turns showing off what you made or got for dinner that night. You can hold pre-dinner traditions as well as after dinner traditions, like eating ice cream together. Regardless of how you eat together, it will make you feel less lonely at the dinner table. 

During the group chat, stay present and involved in the conversation. It can be hard as you are on an electronic device and may get distracted by notifications, emails, or text messages. You and your family will enjoy and appreciate this virtual time together!

Also, make sure that everyone is comfortable and familiar navigating electronic devices and video chat platforms. It could cause further stress and anxiety for someone to be stuck or confused when trying to connect with you. A good holiday gift could be to send them a tablet or computer with a camera and microphone, or hop on a phone call to guide them through it step by step. 

concert video playing on tablet and coffee on table

Digital Ideas for Staying Connected: Play Games Virtually

Video games can be a great way for your child to learn quick thinking skills, reflexes, and strengthen their overall thought processes. If your child has an Xbox or PS5, they can connect with their friends, cousins, or other family members to play some games together! All that’s missing is a microphone and headset, so that they may talk to one another while playing.

There are other online games, such as checkers, cards, or interactive games where you can invite people to play with you on your phone, tablet, or computer. Consider starting a game of something together to stay interacting. On the iPhone, you can play 8Ball as much as you want, as well as find other fun games in the Arcade for iPhone app. It usually will pop up right in your messages for easy access. 

Over video chat, you could hold a virtual card game night as long as everyone has the game materials. For example, you could plan with your friends or family to each get a set of Cards Against Humanity, deal your own sets, and still take turns with someone picking from their own pile of questions! They are tons of fun card games that won’t break the bank and are more kid friendly, too.

Schedule a Future Trip

Who knows what the future holds? All we know is that in this moment, you’re being held back from spending quality time with your loved ones. Why not postpone this time until next year, on an agreed upon date and time? 

Planning a future activity or trip is a great way to hold onto the connection for future reconnecting to occur. Plan a group call with loved ones to coordinate a good place to travel to, what the budget should be, or simply a local activity that will hopefully be operating back to normal by the time the date comes.

If possible, aim for bookings or activities that will provide you refunds if plans fall through. For the most part, this can provide you with a sense of excitement and contentment to know that you will be meeting them face to face soon. 

man with headphones and mask on working on the laptop

Digital Ideas for Staying Connected: Create Photo Albums for Everyone

On Snapfish, you have the ability to create full photo albums to send out to family. You can customize them with pictures, quotes, statements, and more. This would be a nice surprise for them and is a reminder of the good times you had in the past.

You have stuck through it for so long now, and the photo album reveals just how close you really are. Although you are not together in person, this photo album can bring about feelings of reminiscing and nostalgia to inspire you all to hold on until you can meet face to face again. 

Create a Family Group Chat

Whatsapp is an app available on most cell phones that allows for group chats of any size. You have the ability to share pictures with everyone in your family at the click of a button. You can converse, share ideas or memorabilia, and keep updated with what’s going on in your circle.

Group chats are an easy and relatively convenient way to communicate with your family and friends from a distance. The app is free to use and allows you to send media, gifs, voice messages, and more. Stay connected by communicating at any moment you want to!

Digital Ideas for Staying Connected: Send A Virtual Greeting

I’m sure we have all seen that funny, custom video of the elves dancing to holiday music with our faces on them! It’s a fun way to show the family some updated pictures of the kids as well as make them smile. The website is called JibJab and has different funny dances or music to choose from!

Although this holiday season may not be so wonderful due to COVID restrictions, you and your family still have the power to make the most of it. You have opportunities to connect virtually with them, either by direct communication or sending over things that may make them smile. Always stay positive and look forward to the future where you can finally celebrate with them in person again.

Happy Holidays from Simi Psychological Group!

Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County 
At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing.