Celebrate the Holiday Season Without Gathering in Groups

There’s no getting around it – this holiday season will be different. The COVID-19 pandemic will limit gatherings and many activities that have come to define the holiday season.

That is why NEOMED is asking students, faculty and staff to Resist the HUGG

First, resist hugging your family and friends. And second, Hold back the Urge to Gather in Groups. These are ways we can all help to keep the NEOMED community and our families safer.

And here are some ideas for making this year’s Thanksgiving festive, despite the pandemic.

Host a Virtual Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving

Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with those outside of your household, enjoy the company of one another in your own homes - digitally! Using free virtual video chat methods like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or Microsoft Teams, set up a computer or mobile device in your kitchen to instruct others through that favorite turkey stuffing recipe. Or place a device at the dinner table to chat, laugh and share your holiday meal together.

You could also use screen-sharing methods to host a digital quiz game on the Kahoot platform.

Jumpstart Your Creative Side

Taking time for yourself to relax and unwind is always important. Use the time that you would have spent going out to explore your creativity. Create an art piece, start a scrapbook to preserve cherished memories, change the layout of your living space or redecorate your bedroom. Anything you can do to free your mind of the stresses of the outside world to focus on yourself and the task at hand is good for your mental and physical health. 

Watch Movies and Shows with Friends and Family, Virtually

You can still gather your friends and family for a movie night. Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge web extensions like Teleparty allow multiple individuals to watch the same film online, together, in real time, while physically apart. The extension works for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Disney+ accounts. (Note: A Chrome browser is needed.)

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is an easy way to relieve stress and meditate. If mindfulness is not already a part of your life, learn the basics from this 60 Minutes interview with neuroscientist Jean King. Ph.D. Then get started with these exercises, or search “Practice Mindfulness” in YouTube and find the right fit for you.

Try a New Recipe

During the holiday season, preparing new recipes can be a fun way to spread joy to the ones you love. The time-honored tradition of passing down recipes doesn’t have to be done in person. Share a few of your recipes with family and friends and ask them to do the same. Try out a few and pick out your favorite to prepare once we can gather for the holidays once again in the future.

Reconnect with Old Friends

Use the holiday break to reach out to at least one person you’ve been meaning to contact “when things aren’t so busy.” Make their day with an unexpected call or text to check in and catch up – or surprise them with a handwritten note. 

Purchase Gifts Online with Black Friday Sales

Even though some find it joyous to run into the store and pick up physical items, shopping online on Black Friday will be a much safer way to get good deals this year. You may have to wait for the items to arrive, but that will also allow the excitement and joy of getting gifts to last longer.

Have a Photo Shoot

With the new items you purchased on Black Friday (or normal items you have around the house), consider staging a mini-photoshoot with clothing items, makeup, decorations, and more. Family members can take pictures of each other, or if you’re on your own, you could set up a tripod and camera to take timed photos. This might also allow you to create a digital Christmas or other holiday card to send out to friends and family.

—This article was contributed by Angelina Cocchiola and Blessing Mupinga, students at Bio-Med Science Academy and interns in the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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