Okay, so 2020 didn't turn out the way most of us had hoped, but there have been many silver linings, including some new and very creative ways to connect and play together during the holidays! See if any of these might ease your transition into a socially distant season:
#1: Get a picture with Santa
Macy’s has a virtual Santaland complete with a greeting from Santaland elves, interactive games, a tour of Santa’s workshop and an interactive meet-and-greet with Santa that comes with a photo. Good fun with only a little product placement.
#2: Live (and on demand) holiday performances
“A Christmas Carol” live-streamed from London. Dec. 12-24, from $27
Handel’s “Messiah” filmed in the conductor's barn in upstate New York. Dec. 21 at 8 p.m., on demand through Jan. 10
“The Nutcracker” performed by the New York City Ballet. On demand Dec. 11-Jan. 3, $25
"Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce...Pandemic!" is a punkish Christmas cabaret (not for the kids). Livestream Dec. 12 at 2, 7 and 10 p.m.; on demand through Jan. 2
"Hip Hop Nutcracker" is set in a diverse and contemporary New York. Livestream and on demand Nov. 26-Jan. 3, $25
#3: Winston from The Ghostbusters!
Pay your favorite actor, musician or athlete for a personalized shout out on Cameo.com. Including Winston for $135! He even wears the jumpsuit!
#4: Make people think you are holidaying in the Swiss Alps
Updating your Zoom background is the easiest! Here's where to click:
#5: High Octane Secret Santa
Who knew? Even Secret Santa had room for improvement. Draw Names lets you virtually draw names AND set exclusion lists for who should not draw whom. You can even anonymously communicate with your giftee to get hints for what they might like (intrigue!).
#6: Synchronized Movie Watching
Who remembers the scene in When Harry Met Sally where they watch a movie together, but from their own apartments. This could be us! Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) synchronizes video playback for Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO. And there's live chat on the right side of the screen, so you can make snarky comments without being shushed!
#7: Order an iconic dish
Support your favorite legendary restaurant by ordering authentic Chicago deep dish pizza, classic Texas barbecue, New York cheesecake or fresh Maine lobster rolls. Key lime pie from Key West, anywhere you are!
#8: Drive-in movies!
One business that did a big pandemic 180: drive-in theaters, who are now screening holiday classics and hosting socially distant activities.
#9: Learn the history of Christmas traditions
Why did we start hauling a tree indoors? Who was St Nick, really? And why December 25th? Watch this three-minute History Channel video to find out how this whole crazy thing got started, and then remember that the only part of it that matters is that the days are getting longer again, and isn't it nice that we have each other?
#10: Enjoy a drive-thru holiday light exhibit
My family used to feel like we were phoning it in a little, lazily cruising through the Portland International Raceway, oggling the Christmas lights that we had no hand in putting up. But no more! Now we feel smart and safe in our cozy minivan with heated seats. Thanks COVID! Find a drive-thru holiday light exhibit near you.
#11: Send major good vibes by donating to a good charity
Tis the season for giving, and now more than ever, others can use your help and kindness. Donate to what matters most to you: animals, children, coronovirus response, America's soldiers, you name it :)
#12: ONLINE DANCE PARTY!!!!
You guys, these are SO FUN!! A Canadian friend and I get together every Sunday night for a virtual dance party, complete with lights and costumes, and we get doooowwwwwnnnnnn. It's a great stress relief, you get to see people rocking out in their own homes, and you can go to bed at a reasonable hour. Join one here!