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How to Host a Long Distance Family Holiday Party

"Through the years we all will be together…" That's what the songs say, but reality doesn't always want to cooperate. If you're finding yourself separated from your loved ones this holiday season, you're not alone. And you don't have to be alone either. With a little creativity and planning you can still connect with the people you love. Here's how.

Make Your List (and Check it Twice)

One of the biggest benefits of a long distance holiday get-together is that it eliminates the need to travel. This lets you bring the whole family together no matter where they are. Make a list of everyone you'd like to invite, and brainstorm some times that might work for everyone.

Pick Your Time and Platform

Find a time that works for everyone on your list. Cutting out travel time makes it easier to host on weekday evenings, so get creative to make sure everyone can make it. From there, pick your preferred platform. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook… choose your favorite, send out invites, and get ready to meet!

Plan Your Treats

Food is the centerpiece of most parties. This doesn't have to change just because you're not together. In fact, this is one area where remote parties are much easier on the host. Consider challenging your guests to bring their own themed treats to show off to everyone else. Who can create the most decadent-looking cup of hot cocoa? What kind of creative cookie decorating can your guests come up with? How about a gingerbread house competition?

Drinks are a must too. Whether you're drinking kid-friendly punch or spiked eggnog, keep your electronics in mind. Unbreakable glasses keep glass shards away from fingers, feet, and tablets should someone get a little too carried away in a game of charades.

Break the Ice

The party has just started, and the dreaded moment is here… who is going to break the ice? It's no secret that virtual get-togethers can be a little difficult to get off the ground. Fortunately, you have the holidays on your side. Ask your guests to share their favorite holiday memory, song, or treat.

Have Some Fun… Or Keep it Short

Depending on you, your family, and your needs, your holiday party may be long or short. There's no need to keep people staring awkwardly at their screens for hours, but there's also no reason to put a cap on the fun. If your people like rowdy party games, plan a few activities to try out (this list has some great ideas).

If a quick check-in is all that people are interested in, that's okay too. Consider having everyone come together for one portion of your holiday traditions. Maybe it's a toast before dinner. Maybe it's lighting candles or singing songs. Maybe it's sharing a dessert or retelling a favorite story. Use the opportunity to rework old traditions into a new way of doing things.

Take advantage of the flexibility remote hosting gives you. While nothing can replace being together over the holidays, a long distance party is a great alternative to celebrating alone.

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