Connecting with Family Virtually During the Holidays

By: Caroline Larson 

     Around this time of year, Mrs. Larson, the fourth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School, would be getting ready to leave for Quebec City, Canada for Christmas. “I would be planning and making lists, checking the weather, packing up clothes, and making sure the car is in the perfect condition for travelling,” she shared with The Squire. However, because of the pandemic, she has had to change her Christmas plans. For many families, they are going through the same thing and have no choice but to stay home for the holidays. It is now important to discover new spins on old traditions for friends and family to stay connected safely this holiday.    

     Since no one is going out, there has been an increase on the dependency of the internet this year. Many people are using the internet for their holiday shopping, while others are dependent on it to connect with loved ones who cannot visit for the holiday. 

     Even though everyone will be celebrating differently, it is still wise to plan ahead. When planning, make sure everyone is involved and comfortable with using the technology that they have. If you need to, make modifications for everyone to feel included. Webcams and microphones might come in handy and they can also be used in the future to help continue communications throughout the holidays.  

     People will be celebrating with immediate family physically for Christmas; however, setting that time aside to connect with family who cannot be home for the holidays is important. For Mrs. Larson, she cannot see her mother or brother who live 648 miles away. “It’s so hard, especially during these difficult times,” she expresses. “Even though you can get together to see them, there isn’t that warmth contact; you can’t hug them, you can’t kiss them; it’s not the same.”  

     It is not all negative, though. Families are reinventing holiday connections and new traditions. For Mrs. Larson, she will be opening presents with her family in order to see her family’s reactions towards their gifts. Others could take the time to sing Christmas carols, bake, and even share Christmas stories from their youth. “The positive is that at least we’re together and it gives us that chance to see one another,” Mrs. Larson states. “It’s a little more heartwarming and normal to see a loved one’s face then to just hear their voices.” 

     Technology is surrounding us, and, with the easy access to the internet, cameras, and microphones, your family will not have to feel far away from each other this holiday. If your family has no internet connection this holiday season, send them a handwritten card. You may not get to see your family face-to-face as you wish, but it still sends love to whoever is receiving that card. This year, take this difficult time to create some new and heartwarming traditions. 

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