Border closures, travel restrictions and the possibility of further lockdowns will see many of us celebrating a different kind of Christmas this year away from our families and friends.
One thing that COVID 19 has taught us all in 2020 is the importance of staying connected to the people that we love and how technology can help us to do just that.
Here are some clever ways to combine old traditions with tech-savvy communications to create a new kind of Christmas – 2020 style.
Video chat with friends and family
Connect to loved ones – whether a few hours away, interstate or overseas – by using video chat apps such as Skype, Zoom or Facetime.
We’re all much more familiar with this technology now and for many of us, it has been an absolute lifeline to distant relatives and friends during 2020.
Free and relatively easy to use, these apps allow you to talk to more than one person at a time so you can have a mini family reunion wherever you are.
If they haven’t got there yet – teach loved ones how to video call
If your loved ones – whether it’s your elderly parents, relatives or dear old friends – are not up with the technology yet, then why not teach them how to video call this Christmas? If you can afford it, you could gift them an iPad or smartphone this year if they don’t already have one – or perhaps chip in with other members of the family or friends.
Like so many people, they will likely be quick to embrace it and will love being able to see you on a regular basis and feel like they are still part of your life.
Cook together over a video call
If you can’t spend Christmas together, why not organise a family cooking session over a video call? You could turn it into a competition to see who is the best chef or use it as a opportunity to make old family favourites so you feel like you are sharing the same meal together – even though you are far apart.
Online photo-sharing apps are a great way to communicate with loved ones this Christmas. You can upload photos throughout the day which can help people who are unable to be with you feel as if they are part of the celebrations.
Christmas movie night
Organise a long-distance movie night. There is something special about watching a Christmas movie you have seen a million times over at Christmas time. Whether it’s the old classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life or The Miracle on 34th Street or modern favourites such as Home Alone, The Santa Clause or Love Actually, consider hosting a long-distance movie night with your family and friends online. Apps like Netflix Party allow you and your family and friends to synchronise video playback and watch your favourite Christmas movie at the same time. You can even comment to each other and chat as you watch.
If you have lost someone
Christmas can be a particularly difficult time if you have lost a loved one. Rather than trying to avoid memories of them, it can be helpful to do the exact opposite and make them a special part of the rituals and celebrations.
If they always had a nip of brandy after Christmas lunch, then why not make a special point of gathering everyone and toasting their memory over a brandy?
Whether it was making a fuss of carving the Christmas ham, playing a particular hymn or carol or watching a favourite movie, include these rituals in your celebrations. It can really help you feel closer and more connected to the memory of your loved one who has passed.
You can also share favourite memories and stories, include their favourite foods in your Christmas meal and don’t be afraid shed a few tears on the day.
If you are having trouble coping away from loved ones or dealing with loss and feel you need additional support, there are good professional help services you can get in touch with including Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 and Lifeline 13 11 14.
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