Celebrate Together Safely This Holiday Season

12 Days of Tech-Mas

Fun Ways to Celebrate Online with Friends & Family (That Aren’t Zoom!)

With the holiday season looking quite different this year, you may be brainstorming new and creative ways to celebrate with friends and family this year while also staying safe. As case numbers are on the rise again, the CDC recommends that we break with tradition and embrace celebrating virtually! Virtual celebrations allow us to embrace a spirit of togetherness without the risks.

By this point in the pandemic, you’ve probably developed a bit of “Zoom Fatigue” – countless hours jumping from one boring Zoom meeting to the next – so you’re not really looking forward to the family version of that, where Aunt Beatrice doesn’t know where the mute button is, and Uncle Jack doesn’t realize he’s left his camera on. 

No need to fret; Zoom isn’t the only way to celebrate safely with friends and family this holiday season! 

We’ve been looking into ways to jazz up your holiday festivities while also following social-distancing guidelines; and there are tons! Many companies are coming up with new and exciting ways to spend time with one another, whether online or safely in-person. Sifting through all of the options can be a little overwhelming; but never fear. 

We’re here to show you the best of the best, and break down a few of our faves that we think you’ll love too. Keep reading for fun ways to celebrate the holiday season, 2020 style.


Virtual (Or Private) Cooking/Bartending 

Anyone else start baking sourdough at the start of quarantine? I know I’m not alone; tons of people have been using the pandemic to brush up on their cooking & baking skills. Many local restaurants and bars have also been contributing by offering private or virtual cooking and bartending classes.

Booking a private class could be a great way to have a socially distanced & safe space for your friends and family to gather, while also expanding those quarantine cooking skills! Check out your local restaurants, bars, breweries, and vineyards to see if they are offering any private classes that you can book. This is also a great way to shop small, which offers the added benefit of helping local businesses during these unprecedented times.

Not ready to do in-person activities? No worries; many locations are also offering virtual classes! You can even book virtual events (like an online bartending or cooking class) through AirbnbSome services will even send you the ingredients ahead of time, so you can just pull out your ingredients and get going once the class starts online. Another fun idea is hosting your own cooking class for friends and family via a video chat platform so you can share your favorite recipes together. 


Rent (Or Make!) A Personal Theather

It feels like AGES since I’ve been out to the movies. But since the start of the pandemic, the idea of being in an enclosed room with hundreds of other people is enough to send some people into a panic. We totally get it; and movie theater companies do too! That’s why they came up with the idea of theater rentals.

Theater chains such as AMC, Alamo, Cinemark, and others, have all jumped on the trend – some even offering the service for as low as $99! Before COVID, renting out a theater was labor-intensive and expensive. But now, it’s become a part of our new normal.

For those who are looking to safely enjoy time with friends & family that live nearby, this could be a great option! The large private space allows for ample social distancing & the new lower price tag makes it a more than affordable option, especially if you are splitting the cost with others.

Or, for an even more germ-friendly alternative, consider pooling your money with friends to purchase a personal projector. You can host drive-ins right in your driveway, or play blockbusters in your backyard!


Host a Netflix Pajama Party

For those cinema fans who aren’t quite ready to be in an enclosed environment, or for those whose friends & family are not nearby, www.netflixparty.com (formerly Netflix Party, and now known as Teleparty) is a great alternative to renting out a private theater. Teleparty should be used on a computer, and every party member needs their own subscription to the streaming service used.

Teleparty works by adding a chat feature to your favorite streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Teleparty is 100% free, and can host up to 50 people in a single chat. So, even if your family and friends are thousands of miles away, you can enjoy a fun movie night or binge-watch session together from the comfort of your homes!


Try a Jackbox Game Night

Who doesn’t miss game nights?! COVID-19 doesn’t have to ruin everything for us. There are, surprisingly, SO many different games to play online with friends and family. One of our favorites is Jackbox games. Jackbox is a program that offers a bunch of different types of games that can be played remotely with your friends.

Normally, Jackbox games are played in a single location, like a friend’s house, but with teleconferencing platforms, you can easily play remotely! All you need is one person to own the game & have access to a video calling platform that allows screen sharing. All other players will need their own device (computer, tablet, phone, etc) to play on. 

To play is super simple! Just have whoever owns the game to run it via their computer or laptop and share their screen in their teleconference platform of choice – now share the code given, join the game, and VOILA. You’re ready to play! Not sure what game to start with? A few of our favorites are Drawful and Quiplash.


Find the Perp in Among Us

If you haven’t heard of it already, Among Us is a “Who Done It?” game that has been taking the world by storm since the pandemic. This flexible, fun game is easily accessible from almost any device. It’s free to play on iOS and Android devices; just download it on Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store. If you choose to play it on PC, it’s $5 on Steam or itch.io. 

While Among Us is often played online with randomly created matches, my friends and I have actually been creating private rooms & turning Among Us into a personal Game Night! 


Here’s how to do it:

  • Have one player host a private match.
  • Share the code for the match with up to 10 friends so they can join. 
  • Enjoy the game with your friends!

If you’d like to make it a video-chat, feel free to invite your buddies to your favorite chatting service so you can play together and talk between rounds.  

Just be sure to mute your mic during the game so you don’t ruin the fun! It’s free, easy, and a really great way to step-up your virtual game nights.


Play Long-Distance White Elephant

One of our favorite holiday traditions is White Elephant (otherwise known as “Yankee Swap” or “Dirty Santa”)— the gift-giving game where stealing is encouraged, and everyone is vying for the best haul to take home. This year, we were afraid we’d have to give it up, but thanks to the internet, we’ve found an online alternative!

White Elephant Online is an online version of our favorite festive activity. The website allows you to customize your game rules (e.g. how many steals per gift and spending limit), submit and ship gifts, and even wrap your present! The best news? They’re offering up their friends & family version of the game for free this holiday season, good for up to 25 participants.


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