How to stay connected during the festive season

Staying in touch with friends and family is important, and there’s no better time to reach out than the holidays. While many of us will be celebrating Christmas from a distance this year, that doesn’t mean being alone. As you’ve probably used ZOOM or Facetime by this point, having Christmas lunch “together” could be as simple as setting up a video conference call on our collective smartphones and agreeing to gather around our dining tables to eat at a set time.

Here’s a whole stocking of ideas on how to stay connected during the Christmas season.

Posting photos in Christmas cards is a common tradition but a modern twist is starting an online photo album. You and your loved ones can easily access and contribute to the album, and you are free to print out any of its contents. Providers include Shutterfly and Amazon prime, among others.

Got a favourite Christmas dish? Share the recipe on social media! Ask everyone to exchange their best festive recipes, then let them know how you went at cooking it. Be sure to include photos.

On the subject of food, your social network could whip up batches of cookies and deliver them to each other’s doorsteps. This is cheap, easy, fun and, best of all, you get to eat cookies!

Want Christmas decorations that are less generic? Hit your local craft store and buy some colourful materials. Invite friends over ZOOM to spend quality time creating personalised ornaments.

“Memorable Gifts” has a lot in common with Secret Santa, but with a twist. Your group secretly chooses each other’s names out of a hat and you buy or make a gift that celebrates a special memory you have with that person. For instance, if you went hiking at Katoomba with the person one winter, you could decorate a mug with the Three Sisters and snowflakes. This is a great way to reminisce about good times.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without party games and there are loads available online. With some Googling, you can find online multiplayer versions of everything from Cluedo to Uno that you can play for free.

If you’re alone on Christmas Day, many councils will offer community parties, so take a peek at their websites. Also, volunteering is a great way to boost your self-esteem, support others in need and spend time with awesome people all at once. This could be serving meals at a community centre, or any other form of charity.

Many of us feel alone and burnt out by December, but that’s okay. Just be sure to be kind to yourself.

By Grant J Everett, Panorama magazine

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