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This year has been surreal and unexpected, to say the very least. With social distancing in place and restrictions being rolled out again across the country, Thanksgiving and Christmas are sure to look a little different. Normally, I’d be planning the side dishes I’m bringing over to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving, and then planning when I’m coming over to do the Christmas baking. That’s not the case this year with the state of the country during these trying times.

While I’m sad not to be with family in person, as I’m sure a lot of you are, I’m also incredibly thankful for all of the ways we’re still able to connect! For all of the pain, heartache, and canceled plans, I’m so impressed with how we’ve adapted and learned to hang out virtually. So, if your holiday plans have been canceled, I’ve got some good news – there are still plenty of ways to stay connected and have fun with the family. You can make new, meaningful traditions this year with some of these ideas!

Video Hangout

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You knew it would be on here somewhere, so we might as well start with it! There are so many free video chat services, such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. These services allow you to have video chats with multiple people all at once, so you can have your very own family reunion!

Virtual Meals

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I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about the holidays is all of the delicious food. ‘Tis the season for overindulgence, after all. Certain foods like sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, and peppermint bark only come around once a year, so of course we deserve seconds (and thirds, and fourths…) of our favorite treats.

Thanks to the video chat services mentioned above, you can still make those special foods and share a meal with family. You can share your recipes and all make the same dinner and dessert, and then sit down and eat together over Zoom!

Virtual Board Games

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Is playing games one of your family traditions when you all get together? Good news! There are lots of games you can still play virtually! Check out the popular and easy to learn game, Ticket to Ride. You can also play classic Monopoly online, Clue, and all sorts of card games.

Watch Movies Together

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Growing up, my family had a list of Christmas movies we watched during the holiday season. A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, the list goes on and on. My mom and I also love watching those cheesy Christmas romantic comedies. My husband enjoys them too, though he’d never tell anyone that. With the awesome Teleparty app, you can schedule and link up movies with other people. It even includes a group chat option. You can use this app with Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO.

Christmas Cards

The Spruce

Aside from all the virtual hangouts and games, there are other ways to send out love this holiday season, such as making Christmas cards! This is a lost art these days, but it can be so meaningful to get a card with a sweet message and/or an update on the year. If you want to add some family time in there, you can have a virtual card making party! Check out some ideas for DIY holiday cards at The Spruce and gifts.com.