{shortcode-6f0ea4bd6ec1962090c991afeab56c4063dc808d}Jingle bells, I can’t smell, I have to wash my hands… Remember when we all thought life would be back to normal by now? What a time. But with the holidays creeping around the corner, it’s time to get into the festive mood and find some time to unwind. Although we may not be on Harvard’s campus together, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected (unless your Wi-Fi drops) during this jolly season!

Decorate Together

Holiday decorating is something to look forward to every year, but this year, share the joy through your Zoom screen! Take your friends on a tour of your house as you hang up your Christmas lights and wreaths. Share stories about your favorite Christmas tree ornaments, or even better, your favorite Christmas recipes (eggnog vs hot chocolate?). And if your friend doesn’t have any holiday decorations, let them annotate the screen so that they can decorate along with you!

Stream a Holiday Movie

This is a classic holiday festivity. Pick out a holiday movie to spend the night in with. Enjoy some hilarious commentary from your friends about blind spots in the film, or perhaps you’ll be brought to tears by the sight of people gathering to spend the holidays together. Wow remember when we could do that? Yea me neither. Either way, there are so many holiday classics out there, it’s hard to miss them: “Home Alone,” “Elf,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the list goes on. Hot take: is “Die Hard” a holiday movie or not? You decide.

Playlist Collab/Dance Party

The best part about the holiday season is, without question, the Christmas music. Sorry, it’s a fact. Now, you can share your favorite Christmas tunes with your friends! Start a collaborative playlist or a group listening session on Spotify, and jam out to the iconic Mariah Carey (note that she starts with “I don’t want a lot for Christmas” and then reveals she wants “you,” ouch). Each person can add a little of their own ~spice~ to the playlist for everyone else to enjoy. Show off your dance moves, your cozy pajamas, and your creative Christmas apparel, all in one fun virtual party setting!

Virtual Secret Santa

Virtual or not, a holiday party would not be complete with a gift exchange. Secret Santa can help recapture some remnants of spending the holidays with your friends, and while you won’t be able to see them in person, you can see their faces light up on the Zoom camera instead. You can use a gift exchange generator online (try Elfster!), then send each other presents, and pick a designated time to open gifts together at a virtual party event. Whether it be a physical gift package or a simple gift card, virtual Secret Santa is another classic way to stay in touch during this season.

Holiday Photo Booth

Probably the singular downside to photo booths was that it was impossible to squeeze everyone into one picture. Well, up your photo game with your ~months~ of Zoom expertise and take some creative group shots. You can even add photo booth props to better capture (hah) the experience: Santa hats, reindeer ears, colored lights, etc. If all else fails, Zoom filters and backgrounds can easily transform your screen to red-and-green galore. And the pictures will be easy to distribute to everyone as well!

Hopefully, these virtual holiday happenings will save some of the jolly spirit of the season. Mix and match different activities together for optimal fun! It’ll be a different Christmas this year, but let’s all make the most out of it. And don’t forget to sing some holiday carols! Deck the halls with sanitizer, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.