This holiday season many people might be a bit disappointed as they celebrate in quarantine, away from a majority of their family and friends. While this year offered many challenges for in-person socialization, it’s important to keep in contact with loved ones in the small ways we can. Here’s a list of quarantine-friendly activities you and your loved ones can partake in to socialize and make the holiday season feel a little less lonely:

DIY Light Show

This is by far one of the easiest and cheapest activities that comes with a huge payoff. Many people decorate their houses during the holiday season, so why not take advantage of it and create your own tour?  Simply Google the best-decorated houses in your area. You can usually find blogs or local sites dedicated to rating the most beautifully decorated houses in the neighborhood. Using Google Maps or your preferred navigation app, customize a route for your party to follow. You can also choose one responsible driver as the party leader who handles the navigation and request your friends and family to follow in separate cars—just make sure the person leading keeps a watchful eye behind to make sure nobody gets lost. All that’s left to do is set up a conference call with the members of your party. You can enjoy the tour as you discuss the lights, decorations, and music with your family and friends, feeling reassured that everybody is participating in quarantine-appropriate practices.

Watch a Movie Together (Well, Sort of)

If you’re avoiding the theaters for now, you can still watch movies and shows with your family and friends in the comfort of your own homes. Simply enter a voice chat with your party and assign somebody to countdown so everyone is able to start the video at the same time. If you would like the sync-up to be more precise and less complicated, programs like Teleparty are worth a try. Teleparty allows you to send a unique link to others, making everyone’s video perfectly synced. You can assign one party leader or multiple party leaders to control when the video pauses, fast-forwards or rewinds. To use the program, simply click the ‘TP’ in the corner of your browser after opening the preferred video. There will be an checkbox to give you or everybody full control of the party. After choosing your preferred option, copy the link presented and share it with everyone joining; all they need to do is click the link and then click the TP on their browser to be synced up. Keep in mind that Teleparty is a Google Chrome Extension, so you will need to use Google Chrome as your browser. Additionally, if you are watching a video on a paid, subscription-based streaming service, everyone in your group will have to be members of that streaming service as well. Teleparty currently supports Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO.

Play Online Games

This option might appeal a little more to younger generations, but even for those who aren’t avid gamers, there are still many fun games that prioritize socialization and are easy to learn. If you are new to online games, the Jackbox Party Packs are always a good place to start. There are currently seven different Jackbox Party Packs and each of them has around 4-5 games that you can spend hours playing. The games are often word, quiz or hypothetical scenario games that often lead to humorous banter and light-hearted competitive spirit. Some games that can be included in the packs are Drawful, Quiplash, Fibbage, and Split the Room. The best part is that you only need one person to own the game. Usually, people play this game in the same room but you can easily make it quarantine-friendly by streaming the game with an application like Discord. All that your participants will have to do is use their phones or computers to play and enter the game’s specific code into https://jackbox.tv/  and they’ll be ready to play. If you’re looking for other easy and affordable online games to play during quarantine, you can check out this list.

Holiday Dinner Video Chat

If you can’t partake in a holiday meal with your loved ones this year, you might as well host a video call with them. While you won’t be able to share the special meal you’ve prepared, you can still emulate the experience of gathering around a dinner table with the important people in your life. It might not replace the real feeling, but at least you can talk, show off the dishes you’ve each prepared, play small games, or host a holiday-themed trivia night. It’s a great opportunity to gather the whole household around the computer to greet your extended family and friends. You can even take this opportunity to virtually catch up with more people than you normally would in other years.

Writing Letters

Why stop at the holiday cards? Writing letters to others can be an extremely enjoyable and creative method of socializing if you’re getting a bit tired of virtual communication. You can even design and write all your cards by hand! Update your family and friends about your life, draw pictures, or remind them how much you miss them and how excited you are to be reunited one day. This process can be truly meditative and it’ll be sure to bring smiles to many faces. Plus, you’ll get the perk of opening the mailbox to be greeted with a potential response letter! If you can find a friend interested in a long-term letter writing arrangement, this activity will keep you both occupied for a long time during quarantine.

Enjoy and Be Safe this Holiday Season

This holiday season will be rough for many families so it’s important to be considerate to others and respect their boundaries and comfort levels in regards to socialization. There are still many activities you can partake in with others that are quarantine-friendly, so be sure to prioritize the safety, health and happiness of everyone in the best ways you can, as we all celebrate the holidays and welcome in the new year.

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