They said it would be over by Christmas, but I don’t think too many of us were surprised that it’s not. The Government are relaxing restrictions for five days over the festive period, but many of us will still not be having the Christmas with our loved ones that we’d normally enjoy. All of our family live over 90 minutes away, so we won’t be having our usual get-togethers and extended family visits – for fear of the travel nightmare, if nothing else. But we’re not going to let a little thing like a few hundred miles get in our way! I’ve been collecting together some ideas and activities that we can all enjoy together over the magic of the internet – which I hope will ease the pain of being apart when we would normally have been together. It will officially be an online Christmas this year.
(I haven’t actually mentioned most of these to the family yet, so this post will be a nice surprise – I hope!)
Have a Cook-Along
If there’s something you normally enjoy cooking or baking together – whether it’s the big meal on Christmas Day, or a batch of mince pies on Christmas Eve – do it together anyway! Arrange a time, get those ingredients together and share the cooking experience at the same time! You could sort out some favourite Christmas to share while you do it, or even coordinate your tipples of choice. I’m planning to co-ordinate a joint batch-cook of my Mum’s famed and beloved chocolate rum mousse between Mum, my sister and me….we’ve never made it all together before, so it will in fact be a first!
Have a Sing-Along
I’m hoping this will be a nice one for Christmas Eve. Agree on some favourite songs or carols – all the words are out there on the internet – and then you can either play the music via an app, or just go a cappella together. See if you can guess which song each family member will request beforehand!
Have a Feast-Along
You may not be together for the main meal, but why not eat together anyway? Prop up your phone, tablet or laptop up at the end of the table so everyone can be seen, and dial up your missing loved ones when you’re all ready to eat. Co-ordinating several Christmas meals could be easier said than done, but you can at least co-ordinate the cracker-pulling!
Play the Chocolate Game Online
When I asked the little one what he’d like to play with family over the internet this Christmas, without hesitation he said “the Chocolate Game”. If you haven’t played it before, I wrote about it last year – here’s the link – but essentially you need a bar of chocolate, a hat, scarf and gloves, a knife and fork, and a dice. Take it in turns to roll the dice, and if you get a six, you put on the clothing and try to cut up the chocolate with the knife and fork. Eat as much as you can before someone else gets lucky.
My initial response was “Well, I think that’s impossible darling, I’m afraid”…but then I gave it a bit more thought. If everyone had all the equipment in their own homes, we can easily play along together – still taking it in turns to throw. The trust will come in that the person eating will stop when someone else throws a six of course!
And of course you don’t have to stop there – if you’ve both got the equipment, you can play pretty much any game with someone else over the internet, as long as you move all the pieces on each board to keep track. So those Monopoly sessions needn’t be out of reach this year, if you really want to risk it!
Have a family quiz
Perhaps you’re all lockdown quizzed-out this year, but this could be fun – and it’s scalable too, so it doesn’t matter how far and wide your family are spread. Each household acts as one team, and each team creates a round for the other teams taking part. You can keep it to General Knowledge, give each team their own theme, or have a completely Christmas-themed quiz. Then each team asks their questions to all the others taking part, and the team with the most questions right each round gets a prize – kudos and family bragging rights.
Of course it’s not the same – but it will make this time apart, which would normally be spent together, feel just a little bit less like a loss. So get all of your family connected by Messenger, WhatsApp video, Zoom or whatever your preference – don’t forget your best Christmas outfits and antlers, and have yourself a merry online Christmas!