Celebrate with friends and family near and afar with these virtual holiday gathering ideas.

Try these virtual holiday gathering ideas to connect with friends and family this holiday season.The holidays look a little different during a global pandemic, but the season’s core values haven’t changed. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends, reflect on what we’re grateful for, spread cheer, and have fun! While we’re focusing on keeping one another safe this year, coming up with virtual holiday gathering ideas is the way to go.

Here are some of our favorite virtual holiday gathering ideas:

  1. Exchange Secret Santa gifts by mail
  2. Connect over video chat
  3. Have a separate-but-together movie night
  4. Start a singalong and dance party
  5. Host a friendly competition
  6. Cook the same family recipe
  7. Do a holiday craft

Let’s dive into these virtual holiday gathering ideas and how to pull them off!

Exchange Secret Santa gifts by mail
The idea of exchanging gifts anonymously can fit in perfectly with most virtual holiday gathering ideas! Instead of picking names out of a hat, use an online Secret Santa generator tool to pair all the gifters and giftees. If you don’t want the return address to give your identity away, you can coordinate with your family to have everyone put the same house’s return address—or, if you live close enough, drop the box on their porch in secret.

Connect over video chat
If you choose to do gifts by mail, schedule a virtual gathering so everyone can open their presents and see the reactions together in real-time. Even if you don’t exchange gifts, you can always set up a time to get everyone together on a video call to wish each other happy holidays, laugh together, and talk about your year and the things you’ve learned. Easy-to-use video chat software includes Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts. You can also see captions during these calls using a CapTel phone to make sure you catch every word.

Have a separate-but-together movie night
For many families, nothing says holiday time like getting cozy with a blanket and hot chocolate and putting on classic movies. Whether your family is the type that argues that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, or they can’t get enough of cheesy feel-good Hallmark flicks, you can use a program like Teleparty to host a virtual movie night. Everyone can watch the movie at the same time and talk in the chat about their favorite parts!

Start a singalong and dance party
Ready to belt out “O Christmas Tree” at top volume and break it down on your living room dance floor? Have a virtual karaoke gathering, holiday-style! If you want to be pro and lay a soundtrack down to sing along to, here’s a guide to hosting a karaoke night over Zoom. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong singing carols acapella.

Host a friendly competition
When families get together for the holidays, it’s often the time to dig the board games and card decks out of the closet or test your skills at Pictionary and charades. Luckily, games are easy to do virtually! Sign up for Houseparty to do games over video like trivia and Quick Draw.

Cook the same family recipe
Does your family love cooking shows like Chopped and the Great British Baking Show? Have your own social cooking day with a beloved family recipe! Grandma can teach the grandkids the steps to make her favorite cookies, or adult siblings can all compete to make the best-looking dessert inspired by their childhoods. Cook together over a video call, or snap pics of your final creations and send them in a family group chat or email chain. If you live close enough to drop a dessert off at their house while social distancing, you can add taste tests into the mix as well!

Do a holiday craft
This virtual holiday gathering idea is perfect for getting everybody decorated and festive for the holidays. Pick a fun winter craft (everyone can do the same project or choose different ones) and set up a day for everyone to make them together over video chat.

No matter which virtual holiday gathering idea is your favorite, all of us at CapTel wish you and your family a wonderful season! Check out why a captioned telephone makes the perfect gift for a friend or family member with hearing loss.

CapTel Captioned Telephone