Tips for connecting with your family, near and far, in the holiday months

While we all wish we could celebrate the holidays in person with friends and family, sometimes it’s not feasible nor realistic to get together in-person. However, there are still plenty of ways to stay socially connected to our family and friends this holiday season — especially if we’re willing to get a little creative. Here are some tips that can help bring us closer to our loved ones this holiday season, even if we can’t physically be with them.

Tips for connecting with your family, near and far, in the holiday months

1. Schedule virtual holiday parties

Plan a family Zoom or Google Meet party! Set a holiday theme–such as everyone wears pajamas–and play games and even do a Secret Santa gift exchange ahead of time; that way, you can open presents together during the party. Games can include family bingo, trivia and charades. Check out this article for more!

2. Send holiday letters and cards

Communicate with your loved ones the old-fashioned way with holiday cards and letters. Everyone is sure to appreciate a well thought-out, dedicated effort. This is a great way to stay socially connected and show someone you’re thinking of them this holiday season.

3. Mail a care package

Holiday packages always bring a smile to someone’s face. When you take the time to send a surprise package, it is sure to brighten their day. A care package can be as simple or detailed as you like. You can include a new book, self-care essentials or your loved one’s favorite snacks. Perhaps some homemade snickerdoodle cookies? Or some drawings and homemade cards? Maybe a nice floral arrangement? Whatever it is, they won’t be disappointed!

And here are some tips for connecting with your family in-person this season!

1. Watch holiday movies together

Grab some popcorn, ditch the electronics and watch some holiday classics. Maybe let each member of the family choose a favorite. A fun idea is to let everyone write movie titles on a slip of paper and drop them in a jar. Then you can randomly select and enjoy them together!

2. Play board games

You heard us! Try to limit technology use and play classic board and card games instead! Games are also a great icebreaker at family gatherings. They help gather everyone around a common experience, whether you’re 8 or 80. Playing games during family holidays promotes healthy competition, an opportunity for good humor, fun and jokes, and even improves health by stimulating our brain and encouraging social interaction. Now how does that sound?

3. Volunteer in your community

Nothing like helping others during the holiday season. It’s the season of giving, after all! Contact local organizations to see if you can volunteer as a family. Try your local food bank, homeless shelter, or the Salvation Army if you’re unsure where to start. Or look into cleaning up a local park, beach or neighborhood.

4. Participate in classic fun winter activities

Think ice skating, sledding, skiing, and even just putting up Christmas lights and decor. Have any nice Christmas markets near you? Visit them together as a family. Any favorite baked goods? Bake some together as a family. And don’t forget neighborhood Christmas tree lightings and visits with Santa. There are so many things to do as a family this holiday season.

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