How to have a virtual Christmas

From ZOOM office parties to virtual gift exchanges, our favourite Christmas traditions can still be festive this year.

With the Coronavirus pandemic here to stay throughout the winter, many of us are turning to the internet for Christmas celebration inspiration. It’s still too early to say what restrictions will be in place on December 25th, but we know for sure that some people will be shielding, and others may not be comfortable with meet-ups. Some families may have people living abroad and unable to get home this year, so virtual celebrations are more critical than ever. 

Thankfully, this pandemic happened when the world can be brought together over super-fast broadband. So it’s easy to virtually get together with loved ones or do activities that previously could only be done in-person!

Let’s take a look at exactly how to make the best of this festive season while being away from your loved ones. 

Have a Zoom office party

Office parties are one of the ways you know Christmas is coming — getting dressed up in your best sparkly outfit and drinking prosecco with your colleagues helps anyone get into the festive spirit!

This year, parties of any kind are off the cards in most places around the world. But that doesn’t mean that Christmas is cancelled — you can still celebrate with your colleagues at home! 

To make this as realistic as possible, ensure that everybody dresses in their best festive gear. And for drinks, how about sending out cocktail making recipes beforehand? Or, make a festive quiz before the party, and organize some fun games for everybody to play. 

Arrange a virtual gift exchange

Secret Santa — when a group of friends draw out names from a hat and each buy one of their friends in the group a present — is a popular way to celebrate the holidays. It’s possible to do this online — just use a generator, put in everybody’s name and email, and you will be assigned somebody to purchase a gift!

This is a great way to say ‘I care about you’ from a long way away. When shopping for gifts, try to use small, local businesses that have suffered a lot throughout lockdowns this year. Think of something that will make your friend laugh or a gift with a personal touch. 

Christmas Eve traditions 

Whether you usually spend your Christmas Eve at the pub or at church, try to mimic these celebrations on your virtual Christmas Eve. There will be many virtual celebrations on YouTube or other websites, so if you want to attend an online carol concert, you should have plenty to choose from! 

You could also join in with your friends and family. If you tend to go to the pub on Christmas Eve, then use it as an opportunity to get on a Zoom call with your friends and family and have a few pints together!

How to have a festive Christmas Day

Christmas Day may be the most challenging day over the festive period to spend without your family. Try to spend as much of the day online as you can — if you have an aux lead, connect it to your computer to have conversations with people on a big screen!

Try to make sure that people are on call for critical parts of the day — particularly present opening and Christmas dinner. For Christmas dinner, send out recipes and cook together before enjoying the meal! 

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to be sociable all day, though — if you need some quiet time, make sure you give yourself that time. Treat yourself to some alone time, or time spent with your household. Watch a Christmas movie or enjoy a new book that you’ve received! 

You could try doing some different things on Christmas Day. Virtual wine and cheese tastings are available online — while they won’t be live on Christmas Day, you will be able to watch pre-recorded events and try these out with your friends and family members. 

Virtual New Year’s celebrations

There are a few ways that you can celebrate New Year’s that aren’t just Zoom calls with your friends and family. If you are celebrating with your household or a small group of people, try attending a virtual celebration with an online countdown. Tomorrowland have announced that they will be hosting a virtual festival this year, and various clubs will be hosting online parties to ring in 2021 (a year we’re all happy to see!). 

Or, you could try your New Year’s luck by attending a casino. Some people like to visit the casino for New Year’s Eve — many people think of it as the one night of the year where it’s acceptable to try their luck! Fancy casinos are often very luxurious and glamorous places to ring in the New Year. 

Real-life casinos may be off the cards this year, but there are plenty of virtual casinos for New Year’s celebrations. If it’s your first time doing this, take some time to choose the best casino to make sure you make the right choice. To enjoy your virtual celebrations as best as possible, you’ll want to ensure that the casino has a good reputation!

Also, make sure that you are aware of the risks of gambling — don’t get involved if you have a history of addiction, and ensure that you only gamble as much money as you can afford. You can either enjoy the casino alone or on a group chat with friends.  

If your idea of a fun New Year’s Eve celebration is curling up and watching the fireworks, there are likely to be plenty to enjoy online. On November 5th in the UK, there is a national holiday involving fireworks called Bonfire Night. Lots of places in England, Wales and Scotland provided fireworks displays – and many places across the world are expected to follow suit for New Year’s Eve. 

An enhanced virtual ball drop in New York City’s Times Square has already been announced – with more digital features than the general recorded event. London has reported that they are working on an event to ring in the new year, and Sydney will be going ahead with toned down celebrations (as Coronavirus rates are low in Australia) and offer a virtual event. 

Virtual Christmas ideas

While a virtual Christmas might not be exactly what you want, there are certainly ways to ensure that it is still a merry occasion! Do so by keeping in touch with family members via Zoom or calls, taking part in online events, and enjoying food and drink with your household. Doing this will ensure that your virtual Christmas is still a happy occasion, even if it’s indoors!