“January, February, quarantine, December”
This year has somehow felt like both the longest and shortest in our memory. Frontline workers and scientists have made incredible progress - enough to convince us that things will be different for the better next December. But what about this year? While it still may not be safe to visit our loved ones outside of our immediate household right now, there are other ways to connect with them and our communities this holiday season!
The obvious go-to, of course. Zoom last lifted its 40-minute time limit for free meetings on Thanksgiving. No sign as to whether a similar policy will be in place for the December holidays, but then there's Google Hangouts, which is free for up to 25 conference participants at once sans time limits.
Houseparty is another fun and free alternative for up to eight participants that comes preloaded with four in-app games, including trivia and a Cards Against Humanity knock-off.
This brings us to games! One of our favorite ways to bond as a team is to play virtual games like bingo or create lists of facts about members of our team and which belong to whom.
Since video conferencing fatigue is a legitimate thing, try doing something fun or funny virtually with the people you love.
WHEN NOT EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
There are many reasons people don't have access to the internet or the technology required to use it. Send a care package instead. It's a step up from dispatching a single letter via snail mail and allows you to include meaningful items as well as letters and photographs.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
For those who do have access to the internet, hop on Twitter or TikTok to message the people you love. Or create a YouTube video to share with your family and friends. Save for being teleported or 'hologrammed' into someone's home, if you can think of it, it probably exists at this point.
ESTABLISH A VIRTUAL DRIVE FOR THOSE IN NEED
Be they healthcare workers, frontline workers, people of color, or people experiencing hunger or homelessness, countless people in our country are hurting this year. In parallel, we've seen selfless acts of caring that reflect the best in us. One way to spread love and a sense of community this holiday season is to continue these efforts, especially as immediate federal fiscal support is still uncertain.
Establish a fundraiser on Facebook or GoFundMe, encourage your community to donate household items or clothing, find out how you can support your local food banks; these are just a few ideas.
STEPPING INTO THE NEW YEAR
Some of the best news of the year comes at a time when we're rushing towards the most precarious months, financially and health-wise, of the year. The vaccines are out for delivery. All signs indicate that robust and deep support for the economy, for our livelihoods and families, and for our communities is imminent. So as we prepare for the new year, we hope you'll join us in maintaining diligence, generosity (if you can offer it), and hope for what 2021 brings.
Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
Stay safe, and warm regards,
The Elysian Team