Elizabeth Amini is a social entrepreneur with a background in science. She learned data analysis while working as a scientist at JPL/NASA. Elizabeth earned a bachelors degree in Cognitive Science (the study of the brain) from Occidental College and an M.B.A. from University of Southern California. Her Anti-AgingGames.com business plan won the USC Business Plan contest as well as the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) award for promising new companies.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s holiday season is definitely not what most of us are used to. The CDC has advised Americans to limit travel and reduce the size of family gatherings. If you aren’t able to see your loved ones in person, you can still host a holiday virtually, however.
This guide provides inspiration on how you can enjoy the festivities if you aren’t seeing one another face-to-face, plus tips to stay safe if you are traveling this holiday season.
Send gifts and treats via old-fashioned snail mail.
If you can’t see your loved ones in person, put extra effort into their gifts. Instead of ordering something on Amazon and having it delivered directly, put together a package yourself. This allows you to add personal touches, like holiday cards made by the kids or homemade Christmas cookies. Not a big baker? These easy cookie recipes have you covered.
If you’re looking for affordable presents, turn to the internet. You can find luxury brands online for less. For example, a Saks promo code will let you buy top-quality gifts without breaking the bank. Finish off your luxury gift with the perfect package. Consider learning from a gift-wrapping tutorial, so you can give your loved ones something beautifully wrapped to put under the tree.
Invest in the tech you need for remote video calls.
Video chat is an easy way to connect with friends and family who are far away. Make sure all your family members have the necessary technology to accommodate a video chat platform like Zoom.
An old laptop or tablet won’t run at full capacity and may result in frustrating buffering and freezing, which can make calls frustrating or downright impossible. You can find deals on big brand tablets and laptops online. For example, Lenovo offers steep discounts on laptops on their website, as do other brands.
If you have older relatives, make sure they know how to use their new technology. If you can’t teach them in person, an online computer tutorial specially designed for seniors can help.
Find festive activities you can do “together” via Zoom.
Once the entire family has the tech tools they need, look for creative ways to enjoy the festivities via Zoom. For example, you could all sing carols together via a Zoom call. Another option is to have a tree-decorating competition. Decorate your respective trees at the same time as you chat and then show off the final results to one another via video.
You can also watch holiday movies together. Technologies like Scener let you simultaneously watch a film while in different locations. Pick some of your holiday favorites to watch throughout the holiday season. In need of inspiration? Town and Country Magazine offers a fantastic roundup of classics, from “Home Alone” to “A Christmas Story.”
Take safety precautions if you travel.
If you are traveling this holiday season, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The Mayo Clinic recommends maintaining distance, wearing a face mask, and avoiding touching your face. You should also wash your hands for at least 20 seconds often. If you can’t get to a sink, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The holidays will be different this year, but there’s no need to call off the festivities. With a little creativity and the right technology, you can still enjoy the season with your loved ones. Hopefully, the above guide has given you some inspiration on how to do just that.
If Fairfax County schools are delayed or closed due to weather, Shepherd’s Center of Annandale Springfield (SCAS) activities will be canceled for that day. Please call SCAS for updated information on an upcoming Lunch N’ Life at 703-941-1419.