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Celebrating Together—Apart

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 Thanksgiving just around the corner and holiday celebrations not far behind, we are officially approaching the holiday season. For me, just like for many Americans, that usually means family gatherings, parties with friends, home-cooked meals shared among loved ones, giggling grandchildren, clinking glasses, yummy treats, twinkling lights and lots of laughter. But 2020 isn’t like other years.

As Covid continues to upend our lives, and cases tick up across the country, our usual group celebrations are off the table this year. So we are left to wonder: How can we stay safe yet connected during the upcoming holiday season?

As seasoned work-from-home experts, we at WAHVE know there are many ways to build bonds and engage in fulfilling social activities from a distance. It’s not just our business—it’s our passion! A few of our tried-and-true strategies for bringing together remote work teams can be applied to our personal lives, as well. For example:

  • Virtual toasts. Get out your glasses and give them a digital “clink” with your friends and loved ones over Zoom, Skype or any other video-conferencing service. Just because we can’t physically be in the same place doesn’t mean we can’t see each other’s faces, catch up and enjoy a well deserved cocktail together. To bring the group together more, consider building in a shared experience, whether that’s a theme for the party, a specialty food or drink (having everyone bake their own chocolate chip cookies or mix their own margaritas, for example), or instituting a party game or ice breakers (“share your favorite winter activity”).
  • Send care packages. Another fun way to offer a shared experience among relatives or friends is to send everyone a small gift that each person can open onscreen, during a group video call. This builds the bond and keeps some of the tradition of the holidays going.
  • Don’t forget the holiday cards. If you usually send out family updates during the holidays, whether that’s in the form of a card or newsletter, it will be extra appreciated this year because people are thirsty for real, human connections. Consider personalizing them a bit more this year, perhaps by handwriting them or adding in customized notes for each recipient.
  • Schedule group activities. To build in more connection during this potentially isolating time, get creative. Offer some structured activities for people to participate in, such as virtual exercise, cooking or painting classes. You might be surprised at who signs up and what you can learn from each other.
  • Go outside. It’s possible for small groups of family members to celebrate outdoors, socially distanced and with masks. Enjoy the season’s crisp weather by investing in warm blankets and outdoor heaters, then place chairs at least 6 feet apart and sip cups of hot cocoa, apple cider, or hot toddies together.

The holidays are usually filled with precious moments of togetherness. With a little creativity and positive spirit, we can ensure this year’s festive season is just as meaningful and connected as in the past. We are in this together.

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