Making Merry in December, 10 Screen-to-Screen Tips

Socially Distanced December may not be ideal, but it can still be a wonderful month filled with family and friends. We put together a list of 10 ways you can enjoy your family and friends all from the safety of your own home.

  1. Get Connected. If you have not used Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime, Telegram, or one of the many other screen-to-screen communication apps yet, now is the time! They are all free and we have provided a link to each website at the end of this list. Follow the directions and get screen-to-screen with your loved ones, no mask required!
  2. Shop together. Once you have connected, you can do a myriad of holiday tasks together. Just this weekend, my sister and I spent some time ordering top-secret packages. She placed my orders with my card, to my address, through her account! That way the search history does not give away the surprise! If your family has an eBay, or Etsy, or any online retailer account, consider this shopping-swap to spend some time together, and keep the presents a surprise!
  3. Menu Planning and Cooking. Part of the joy of holidays is the food. Contact your family and get those favorite recipes, then call back when you are cooking to take a kitchen and tasting tour!
  4. Present Wrapping. Hide your best friend’s present, then call them on zoom and wrap together! You get to see what they got for all their family and friends and you get to show off your finds too!
  5. Host a Caroling Party. This takes a little bit of planning but can be a lot of fun. Get a group of carolers, as few or as many as you want, pick a song, and start a zoom meeting. Then text invites to people you know and people the other carolers know, one at a time. When the newest person joins it’s singing time! To grow your group you can invite the newest people to the call to continue caroling with you, or wave goodbye and move on to the next call.
  6. Game Night! Some games are better suited to screen-time than others. Games like 20 Questions, Either/Or, Most Likely to…, Charades and Pictionary can be easy to set up and play with small groups. Larger groups might enjoy Bingo, Trivia games, “Who am I?” or you can create an impromptu Scavenger hunt.
  7. Agree to a time limit before calling or hosting. Whenever you get together with someone screen-to-screen, agree on a time limit. It can be awkward to get off the call when both parties know there is nowhere else to be. To avoid hurt feelings agree to 20 minutes, and if you find yourself still laughing an hour later that is okay too!
  8. Be Prepared. Make sure everyone knows how to use the software before setting up an event. Sometimes this means helping people in your group get set up with a trial run. I’ve found that a phone call, in conjunction with the screen-to-screen run-through can eliminate any problems, like finding the microphone button, before the main event.
  9. Co-Host. Sometimes doing all the setup and organizing is too much for one person. Choose a co-host and ask for some help. There is no shame in asking for help! Encourage people in your group to volunteer and host or co-host future screen-to-screen events. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner!
  10. Have fun! This is a time to enjoy the company of those who you would love to see in person. They are happy to see you and to get-together with you! Relax and enjoy yourself!
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