Socially Distant Holiday Fun

holiday self-care self-care tips social self-care
An I-pad screen with several family members on a video chat in front of a Christmas tree. Socially Distant Holiday Fun For Caregivers.

There are lots of reasons why your child’s condition may keep you from spending quality time with family and friends. It is particularly difficult when these hurdles keep you from staying socially connected during the holidays.

If you are expecting to be physically separated from loved ones this year, there are creative ways to participate in socially distant holiday fun that will keep you close this season.

Below are 5 suggestions for how to keep your family connected and nurture your social relationships this holiday. Even when your child’s complex care needs keep you isolated.

#1 – Holiday Letters:

With the increase in social media, over recent years, holiday cards have fallen to the wayside. These days, it is much more common to see a “Happy Holidays” post on Facebook than to receive one in the mail. Yet, there is definitely something special about a tangible card that was sent with intention and love. When you are kept physically apart from those you love, the thought and attention that goes into sending a personalized note means that much more.

Even better than a simple card is a letter. I have always loved receiving those family update letters around the holidays. I like catching up on what my loved ones have been up to and what milestones, big and small, they have celebrated throughout the year. It is such a fun way to catch up and reconnect with those I haven’t seen in a long time.

There are so many creative ways to put together a fun, family update to mail out to friends and family. This year, my family will be creating a simple “newspaper” version of the traditional Christmas letter. Each family member will write their own “article” summarizing the highlights of their year in their own words.

To keep this activity from being one sided, let your friends and family know about your plans and invite them to participate in an exchange with a letter of their own.

#2 – Document Family Memories:

When we can’t be together in the same room, it can be difficult to engage with our loved ones in a meaningful way. Conversations held in real time, face to face, are hard to replace.

Whether we enjoy the platform or not, virtual meetings might be as close as we can get to being together when circumstances require distance . It really is a blessing to be living in a time when this is even an option. Yet, it can feel awkward and forced to come up with meaningful conversation on the spot.

One fantastic way to make the most of these virtual meetings is to use this unique platform to document your family memories and stories. Take this opportunity to ask those questions you always wanted to ask your parents or grandparents. Prepare questions ahead of time to get the conversation started. Ask them to tell you about their childhood, their parents, how they met or their wedding day, for example. Hit record, with their permission of course, and document their answers, their faces, and their voices. You will nurture your relationships while also creating a record for your family at the same time. What a gift!

#3 - Give Memories:

Your family is going through a difficult time right now and you may be feeling emotional or financial pressure around gift giving. Maybe you are worried about the hurdles involved in giving gifts long distance. You can reduce holiday stress, while nurturing your relationships by changing the way you approach gift giving this year.

Thanks to smart phones, most of us have tons of pictures of family and friends with whom we have shared special events and memories. Revive these moments you have captured by creating a collection of photos to give as a gift. This can be as simple as compiling pictures the recipient has never seen before on a thumb drive, or creating a special photo book documenting your relationship over the years. There are lots of memory related gift ideas to consider. Whichever gift option you choose, the purpose is for you both to reflect on the relationship you share while you reminisce about the past and look forward to a time when you can enjoy being together again.


#4 – Secret Santa:

We have all done the Secret Santa gift exchanges in the office or at school. Why not take the same concept to the next level.

Organize, within your group of family and/or friends, and exchange household names. Then, play “elf” and surprise your assigned family in secret. It’s entirely up to you to set the rules of the game. Will there be price limits, store bought or homemade, food only or no food at all, etc.? Will you fill stockings hung on the front door or will you hide treats in the yard?  The possibilities are endless. Use your imagination to come up with a plan that works for you, and your group, in your circumstances and climate.

Your kids will have a great time being in on the secret and making some holiday magic of their own for a change. Have fun with it!


#5 – Video Greetings:

Are there loved ones you are missing but who don’t necessarily make your gift list? You don’t have to give a gift to connect with family and friends in a personal way. It has never been easier to record a quick, personalized video to send warm holiday wishes. Let them see your face, hear your voice, and see how the kids have grown.


I hope these ideas have inspired you to think creatively about how to connect with family and friends this holiday season even though your circumstances require that your celebrations be socially distant. As always, remember not to take on too much. These ideas are intended to take some of the stress away and make it easier for you to enjoy your holidays in a meaningful way that fills you up, not one that wears you out.



Self-Care Action Discussed in this Post:

Choose just one of the options for socially distant holiday fun shared above, or one of your own, to help you to stay connected with family and friends this year.



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100 Self-Care Activities for Caregivers

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