At the moment in the UK a family Christmas is allowed. Three households able to meet up over five days, with the tiering restrictions dropped for those five days. It seems insane given the rule of six is allowed elsewhere, yet all of a sudden we can all choose to have a huge family get together rather than a socially distanced Christmas.
Ok, so the government has now admitted that really they don’t want people to get together or travel but they know some will do it anyway and it won’t be policed.
My brother lives alone 2 miles down the road so we invited him, but he made the call that while he hasn’t been socialising other than with his girlfriend, but as he’s in work with factory workers coming in and out. he’s someone who could easily pass it on to us,and then the OH or N on to the inlaws on the farm. It’s not worth the risk. He says he’s quite happy to sit at home, eat his venison Christmas lunch and I’m sure he’ll find something sports oriented to watch on tv. I’m sad he’ll be on his own but I’ll pop over to hand over presents on the door step and probably take him over some leftover turkey and some pudding.
We are usually at home just us and my brother, or the last couple of years we’ve been at one of my sister in law’s for the day. But it’s the evenings that will be the big change this year.
Every Christmas eve we have the tradition of having a big family meal at a local pub.. But that’s 4 households and 15 people. So it won’t be happening this year. It’s one of the highlights of the holiday season so it’s gutting we won’t be able to get together.
The other big highlight is Christmas day teatime. With everyone in the family living so close, it means the men go out and feed the animals mid afternoon, then everyone’s back and over to one of the houses for tea together. Again, everyone comes along before people scatter again either home or to meet friends.
This won’t be happening this year which is especially sad for N. The OH isn’t a big Christmas person, and won’t play games, so Christmas is likely to be very boring this year, and just another work day with a big lunch – where N will probably go out with the OH to work, and I’ll be left at home on my own afterwards til they’re back in for tea (online shopping here I come!).
I know the OH won’t be up for having a virtual Christmas and trying to check in with others to enjoy some Christmas spirit but maybe I will just organise it anyway. There’s lots of options with technology today and hopefully families will be able to get together over Christmas, just in a different way.
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Socially distanced family Christmas ideas
1, Order gifts online and send direct
Usually I would order presents online, have them delivered to me, then post them out. It means I can add a card, combine gifts when there’s more than one going, and wrap them nicely.
Unless you’re getting free delivery from the place you’re buying, you’ll potentially end up paying 2 lots of postage, plus packaging. Especially if it’s going to be larger than a small parcel or an awkward shape, get it delivered direct and gift wrapped. Something I learnt last time when I ordered a trug for my best friend, then realised it was going to be a nightmare to post. It had to wait until we met up – could be a long time in these current times.
2, Write and post proper Christmas cards
It’s so much more personal to receive a real card, and will make people feel closer to have something real from you rather than virtual. (note to self, must write and post my cards).
3, Add a family newsletter inside
Make it personal, get everyone from the family to write something. While you might not have had lots to write about this past year, a personal note is always lovely to read. You could even write it as a tip list; 10 must listen songs going into 2021, the best family films to watch etc.
4, Play games online
Get online video calling to play visual games like charades or Pictionary – put up an easel to show the pictures drawn. But board games are best played via online board game websites like Tabletopia or Board game Arena. There’s various classic games you can access online.
4, Have a family quiz
Easily run via zoom or teams, just ask each family (or team) to write a round of questions, then they can either share the questions for the round on screen or read them out. If you don’t want to write your own quiz, there are plenty of online resources. You could even include a ‘Guess the family baby’ picture round, or general knowledge about family history (leave out anything sensitive unless people all know about it).
5, Do an online cookalong
Get everyone using the same ingredients and cook together with everyone on screen. Cooking is so much more fun together, and you can imagine you’re all together. Unfortunately every house will have to do the washing up.
6, Online present opening
Gather everyone around at the same time to open gifts in front of the giver. It means you get to thank them there and then.
6, Do a family day in the life video or photos and share them
Give each person a phone or camera to use (or do it as a family), take video clips through the season or just Christmas day and make a mini day in the life family video to share with family and friends online. Or take one phone an hour, and put them into a montage and share them in a viewing session in the evening.
7, Story telling
Have the children write a short story ready for Christmas day and they can read it to the family online on Christmas day.
8, Play Christmas bingo
Make some bingo cards on a theme – either things that happen at Christmas (dad falling asleep, burning the mince pies, cracker not pulling), or Christmas music or Christmas film based (check out my cheesy Christmas film bingo). Then play through the day or holiday season until someone’s card is full.
9, Have your own Gogglebox session
I love Gogglebox, and my OH hates me talking at the tv screen. But to me it’s a way of connecting and enjoying more what you’re watching. Obviously not all shows are suitable for discussion otherwise you miss bits. But if you’re away from family and you’d usually sit down and watch tv shows together over Christmas, then why not arrange to still watch them at a certain time, and watch them so you can discuss them online together. Add snacks and drinks, and it could feel like you’re in the same room.
10, Call your friends and family especially those on their own
Just calling for a chat is lovely to make people feel remembered. I’m terrible for calling and just rely on quick messages or checking in on social media. But if you’re off work over the Christmas period and stuck at home, use all those free minutes and get calling.
So here’s my 10 tips for having a socially distanced Christmas. Let me know how you’re doing Christmas this year.
This post was part of my Blogmas series. Here’s the last 5 days’ posts.