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Connect2 Family & Friends Safely This Holiday Season

Your Holiday Connection Plan

Whether you’ve been feeling isolated for a while now or more recently because of transitions in your life, do something important for your well-being by making a plan to stay connected this holiday season.

As the pandemic continues, keeping your plans flexible — and having a backup virtual meeting in the wings — can help you feel less stressed about connecting. Even if you’re vaccinated, review CDC Guidelines and local laws for precautions and considerations to determine whether it’s safe to gather in person.

Spreading holiday cheer may look different these days, but by following the suggestions we’ve outlined here, you can stay connected while celebrating safely.

Make Things Festive at Home

  • Put up seasonal decor for your own enjoyment.
  • Let someone know you’re thinking of them — print and send a holiday care card with an invite to connect virtually (more on virtual events below).
  • Text someone the view from your window (or a pet picture) and ask them to do the same.
  • Call someone you won’t see in person and schedule a time to chat during the holiday’s big moment or special tradition.
  • Thank someone who’s helped you (postal workers worked extra hard this year) with some homemade treats.
  • Make your New Year’s resolution to connect more and invite someone to a virtual meetup.

For more ideas, download Staying Connected and Healthy during the COVID-19 Pandemic — it’s a great resource for finding organizations that support older Americans and their caregivers.

Connect over video chat

Deciding to forego in-person gatherings doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated. It may take some practice to get comfortable with video chat tools, but seeing everyone’s faces on screen will make your efforts worth it.

Video chat apps work on desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones. You’ll just need to make sure everyone you include has the same app installed so you can connect.

To host virtual celebrations, try one of these free video apps:

Start Conversations and Keep Them Going

It’s also a good idea to know some easy conversation starters and practice your active listening skills when interacting with people, holiday time or not. Read up on how to talk with younger generations or learn some fun icebreakers for groups; it can help you feel more at ease when you attend an in-person or virtual holiday gathering.

Look for ways to help others

One surefire way to boost your mood this time of year is to reach out to others within your community, especially those who may not have someone checking in on them.

Even a small act of kindness will go a long way. Delivering homemade baked goods to a friend might be just the thing to brighten the holidays for both of you.

Sign Up to Be a Volunteer

Research shows that volunteers experience an improved sense of well-being, purpose, and fulfillment — not to mention lower stress levels.

Listening to others can help you feel more connected while spending more time at home this season. Consider volunteering to talk to people who need support through AARP Friendly Voices (phone) or 7Cups.com (text). If that’s not your cup of tea, there are all sorts of opportunities available to match your skills and interests — search by keyword or ZIP code to find one here that’s right for you.

Find More Resources for Building Social Connections

If you suspect someone in your life is feeling isolated and may need help reaching out to others, you can take the three-minute Isolation Assessment on their behalf to find resources that can help.

There are plenty of ways to stay connected while celebrating safely this holiday season. How will you reach out to others? Let us know at [email protected].

How to Host a Fun Virtual Holiday Event

Just like hosting holiday festivities in your home, hosting a virtual event requires preparation to run smoothly.

  • Step 1

    Share a detailed plan with your guests. In your email invitation, include the video chat link to attend, the start and end time, and an outline of the event. Don’t forget to include any special instructions or login information for the planned activity. Plan extra time for possible technical difficulties.

  • Step 2

    Practice with an event run-through. Set up some time for a trial run with one of your guests. If your guest isn’t good with tech, you can show them the ropes. If you’re the one who needs pointers, make sure you meet with someone who knows more than you do. Test how you will connect to any virtual activities you are planning online.

  • Step 3

    Set up your hosting station ahead of time. Figure out where you’ll be the most comfortable for your virtual event. Determine which room has the best lighting so everyone will be able to see you. Pick a designated spot for your screen so you don’t have to move around once the gathering begins. Finally, make sure your device’s battery is fully charged (or plugged in) before you begin.

Now that you have some virtual event know-how, you might get inspired to make hosting online gatherings a weekly event once the holidays are over.

Online Event Ideas


Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, there are lots of ways to make the season feel special from a distance.


There’s no end to the creative ways to celebrate, and you just may end up starting — or continuing — a new holiday tradition.

Active Listening

If engaging in conversation stresses you out, sharpen your active listening skills to gain confidence. Learn how to use these techniques to improve your communication.

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Virtual Volunteer Best Practices Guide

Learn the ins and outs of volunteering without leaving your home.

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Activities for Reconnecting With Your Loved Ones

Catching up with old friends or family you haven’t seen for a while can be a real mood lifter. What’s more, rekindling old relationships is a great way to widen your social circle.

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Staying Connected and Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

For many of us, engaging in activities that connect us to each other and to our communities can enrich our lives and help us stay healthy.

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Find Help

Search our directory to find programs and services near you.

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