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How to Create an Affordable and Fun Family Christmas Tradition Online

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By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

For The Birmingham Times

Looking for a few cool Christmas celebration ideas that are affordable and fun?

Or have you been thinking about adding a new holiday tradition that can unite relatives both near and far for minimal costs? By hosting an online Christmas family celebration, it allows both flexibility and wide-range connectivity – all from the comfort of home.

Online meetings and meetup spaces are not just a novel invention anymore. For many over the past few years, it’s become our new norm – a safe space to meet and share and remain connected.

We certainly must give a nod to businesses which helped normalize this environment (which has mostly been for our good), as they readjusted best practices due to Covid meeting restrictions.

Gathering in a virtual space became the only option for many companies to stay connected to their employees while continuing to provide exceptional value to their customers.

There was also the benefit of employees being able to create more balance between work and home while spending more time with their families. And from all indications, this remote working model shows no sign of slowing down with many people opting to permanently work from home or enjoy more flexible options of both in-office and out-of-office work setups.

Now, it certainly isn’t the only platform, but over the past few years, remote video streaming/meeting platforms such as Skype (remember this one?),

Zoom and Microsoft Teams skyrocketed in popularity.

The capability has been available for years, but new statistics suggest that in the past 15 years, virtual meetings, remote learning, and online office set-ups have increased a whopping 140%, changing the way we do business across many areas of our lives forever.

We are meeting and working remotely, so it just makes sense that we would gravitate toward celebrating on this platform, too, right?

The great news is that, thanks to this technological shift, there is likely an increased comfort level for both the young adults, the more seasoned seniors, and all ages in between.

That makes your job easier as the online event planner. There will be little to no downtown due to learning the platforms, so you can focus on the agenda and virtual logistics.

So, let’s begin.

Here are few ideas to create a rocking’ remote holiday celebration online.

Gingerbread House Competition

Have you ever thought about Gingerbread House competition or a Holiday Bake-off? This festive idea allows family members to showcase their creativity by baking and decorating. How fantastic is that?

The experienced bakers can certainly bake their own goodies using a homemade recipe. But for the novice, they can research companies online which will mail gingerbread cookie decorating kits or purchase some from the local grocer. They can also simply purchase a cake and add décor from there. Ready, set, bake, and decorate!

The best part of this meetup is the opportunity to enjoy your delectable treats with friends and family once the meetup is over. If baking is not your thing, here’s another idea outside of the kitchen.

Family Story Time

How about hosting holiday family story time featuring rich family traditions or an expose on little-known family accomplishments? Talk about a preview to Black History. Here, you can pass down rich traditions or inspire new generations with the accomplishments of their kin. And here’s a suggestion for maximizing this virtual idea.

Designate a host or hostess to outline a program. Then, appoint elder family members to share their favorite story from Christmases of old. With online apps like Zoom, you can allow all family members who join the call and hear their stories, or you can designate specific, separate online rooms for the elder members to share their stories.

With this cool tech feature, family members can – with the help of Zoom – go into online rooms with a smaller number of guests and share their rich recollection of holidays past.

Set a time limit for the story tellers in these rooms, and when time’s up, bring all participants back together to close out for singing and well wishes. Host this story time meetup a few days out from the holiday or on Christmas Eve, which will allow ample time for families to still enjoy their individual gatherings.

And just like that – you’ve started a rich family tradition that your loved ones can enjoy from the comfort of their own home and participate in years to come!

The best part is it’s free and it creates a wealth of feel-good memories for all involved.

Christmas Trivia

And one final idea, why not try host an online game night with such favorites as Family Feud, Jeopardy or even a round of Christmas trivia?  It will work much like the televised favorites. The host will pose several trivia questions and allow family members to raise their virtual hands and answer. To make it more engaging, keep score and give the top three winners prizes such as online gift cards. Or designate teams and tally up the total from the team perspective.

The host can create these questions from scratch or utilize online gaming options for a time of sheer fun with family. Make this as simple or engaging as your imagination allows and have fun.

These are just a few ideas of how to enjoy your family this Christmas by taking advantage of the technological space. Perhaps you enjoy games and contests. Or you may just want to gather and talk.

Either way, it’s about building memories that will create meaning for Christmas and beyond.