While we were all hoping the COVID-19 pandemic would be safely behind us before the holidays began, concerns about the coronavirus linger. It’s put a damper on private gatherings and public celebrations. Everything from community tree lighting ceremonies to family dinners is affected.
Since seniors are at higher risk than younger people, it may be necessary to adapt how you and your loved ones celebrate this year. Fortunately, technology makes that easier to do, as does the wide availability of online shopping options. We’ve assembled some suggestions on how to enjoy the holidays with those dearest to you even if you can’t physically be together.
Using Virtual Platforms to Connect
Some families have already mastered the use of video chat platforms to stay connected to loved ones over the past 8 or 9 months. Zoom, for example, said daily users spiked from 10 million in December of 2019 to 200 million in March of 2020! The face-to-face nature of these services is the next best thing to being with friends and family in person.
You can host virtual parties for everything from reading a Christmas story with your grandchildren to opening holiday gifts together. Depending on what you are interested in doing during your video conference, you can explore using one of these apps on your computer, smart phone or tablet:
- Zoom: With both free and paid versions, it’s easy to see why this app is so popular. The free version will allow 100 people to chat up to 40 minutes at a time. Paid versions begin at $14.99 a month and allow for unlimited meetings.
- Skype: Another popular and free video chat app, Skype allows for video and audio calling. It also lets you message back and forth, and share screens with other users.
- Houseparty: Billed as a face-to-face social network, this can be a great way to connect and play holiday games with loved ones near and far. There are a variety of games available on Houseparty, including Heads Up, Trivia, Chips and Guac, and more.
Ordering Holiday Meals Online
Holiday meals might be a little trickier if you are planning a virtual celebration. One idea might be to have everyone pick a dish to make or bake and arrange a safe place outside, such as a porch or patio, to meet and share them. Faraway loved ones might have to rely on shipping items overnight. Cookies and baked goods are easy to ship. You can even arrange for a shipping carrier to pick them up from your front porch.
If you prefer to order your holiday meal instead this year, many local restaurants have curbside and no-contact delivery options. Here are a few nationwide sellers that are offering holiday meals delivered right to your door:
- Omaha Steaks: From a Turkey Feast to a Crab Cake Dinner and Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, this popular online store gives you a variety of options for entrees, wines, side dishes, and desserts.
- Harry & David: Another popular food delivery service is Harry & David. In addition to the gift baskets and towers for which they are known, you can order holiday meals. Pork Wellington, Smoked Turkey, and Gourmet Ham Dinner are just a few of the many choices.
- Chesapeake Bay: With holiday meal options ranging from Maryland Style Surf and Turf to Holiday Turkey Pie, you’ll find unique dinner menus here. You can also purchase appetizers, side dishes, and desserts.
One word of advice is to order early. Many online sellers are anticipating a surge in orders as more people are avoiding restaurants this year.
Holiday Gifts that Give Back
Finally, if you are rethinking holiday shopping and gift giving this year, keep in mind that nonprofit organizations have suffered greatly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s not just a downturn in financial contributions. Many rely on volunteers to perform vital tasks which helps keep payroll expenses down. For example, hospital volunteers help with everything from answering phones to transporting patients.
You can help by making donations to a favorite charitable organization in loved ones’ names or by purchasing from a charity’s online store. Many nonprofits sell T-shirts, water bottles, tote bags, and other items to raise extra money for their mission.
Sunrise Is Prepared
Sunrise Senior Living communities have taken a proactive approach to coronavirus infection control. We’ve shared our plans openly on our site and update this information often. Visit Sunrise Is Prepared to learn more or call us at 888-434-4648 with any questions.