10 Virtual Celebration Ideas
Lockdown restrictions have been tough for everyone. From affecting the way we work to cancelling our holidays, the limiting of our general freedoms has had an impact on mental health across the board. As a result, we’re often found feeling confused, tired, and nervous about the current situation, and what the future may have in store.
Yet there is one group that has been affected more than others: the elderly.
Due to the increased risk of the coronavirus for the older generation, many have been forced to isolate away from their loved ones. This means our older relatives haven’t been able to see their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, friends, and more. While this isolation is tough at any time, it’s particularly damaging during occasions such as birthdays and special holidays.
However, if you have elderly or vulnerable relatives that are in isolation, they don’t have to feel alone during these times. There are several different ways to show how much you love them without needing to be there in person. With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, we break down are ten virtual celebration ideas that can help you celebrate with your loved ones as best you can:
1. Enjoy A Restaurant Meal at Home
Your elderly loved ones might not be able to get to one of their favourite local restaurants, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant can’t come to them! Many cafes and restaurants have acted proactively to lockdown restrictions by offering deliveries to those in the area. By being able to have their favourite meals delivered, your loved ones don’t have to be limited to standard takeaway fare on a special occasion - they can enjoy restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of their own home. Of course, restaurant meal-delivery isn’t your only option. Many cake-makers, bakeries and patisseries offer to deliver their delicious desserts - perfect for a special sweet treat for celebratory events such as a birthday or anniversary.One key thing to remember - food deliveries are in high demand right now, certainly when it comes to periods around major holidays. With that in mind, make sure you pre-book any orders with plenty of time in advance.
2. Arrange a Video Chat
Thanks to the power of technology, it’s never been easier to stay in touch remotely. One of the best examples of this is with video chat. With popular platforms like FaceTime, Zoom and Skype available, you can connect with your relatives on a visual level – much better than simply giving them a call on their phone. There is, however, one barrier - many elderly people are not always technically proficient with recent technology. To make matters worse, you can’t come around to give them a helping hand, meaning they could struggle to get their devices set up for a video chat. Fortunately, the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Nest Hub have a reputation for being pretty easy to use and there are many step-by-step guides on YouTube they can follow. Once up and running though, you don’t have to stick to just talking. One great idea is to send your relatives a pack of baking ingredients for a joint cook-along to make it feel like you’re baking together.
3. Create a Playlist
Do you have a musical connection with your parents? If so, you could always put together a music playlist that helps to bring back memories. Think about songs that relate to weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays through the years. There are numerous ways that you can put together a playlist. You may opt to go old-school and burn these songs onto a CD, but the better choice is to go with a platform like Spotify or Amazon Music. You can easily create a list of songs and, best of all, there’s no limit to the number of tracks you can add. Remember the video chat suggestion? Why not combine this with listening to music? Take it a step further and you could even pair-up for a virtual karaoke session!
4. Send a Care Package
A care package is a great way to show that you, well, care. The great aspect of a care package is that you can customise it in whatever way you desire. For example, you could opt for a package with hot chocolate, marshmallows, cookies, and other edible treats. Alternatively, you may go down the path of relaxation with a candle, dressing gown, bath oils and body scrub.
The more personalised you go with your care package, the more appreciated it will be by your elderly loved ones. When gathering items to populate your package, try and stick with local retailers. Independent businesses are feeling the effects of lockdown more than most, so it’s always nice to try and help your community when possible.
5. Buy a Gift Certificate
Your parents are confined to their home at the moment, but the situation will change in the future. To plan for brighter times ahead, you could always buy them a gift certificate for everything from a pamper session to a weekend away at a luxury hotel. When buying the gift certificate, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. Firstly, try and make sure you select a business that you’re confident will still be operating following the lockdown. Second of all, choose a voucher which possesses a long use-by date. After all, nobody knows exactly when the pandemic will be over.
6. Watch a Film Together
Due to the lockdown, many things are missing that people previously took for granted. One of those is the ability to watch films and TV shows with those outside your bubble. If your relatives have been missing out on the social nature of watching their favourite movies and programs with you, not all hope is lost.
With a bit of ingenuity, it is still possible to watch programs and movies together. For example, you can utilise a platform known as Netflix Party. This platform opens the door to simultaneously watching a show or film on Netflix, regardless of being in two separate locations. It’s not the only platform of its kind, either. Simply find the best one for your needs, set up a video chat, and you can discuss everything from plot holes to favourite actors as normal.
7. Write a Letter
Sure, you can fire over an email to your relatives within a matter of seconds. But if you want to pull at the heartstrings, an old-fashioned letter is the only way to go. Let your loved ones know how much you love them and that you can’t wait to meet again under normal circumstances. Bonus points if you invest in some high-quality paper and design an attractive border. The same can also be said for cards. You can easily buy the likes of birthday and Christmas cards during your weekly visit to the supermarket. However, ones you make yourself takes the sentimental nature of the card to another level or two. Plus you don’t have to be a master at arts and crafts to produce a memorable card – there are many tutorials on the internet you can follow for a simple yet effective design.
8. Send Flowers
It’s true, there is an endless supply of potential gifts you could send to your parents. This article has already touched on care packages and gift certificates. Yet there’s one present idea, particularly if it’s for your mother or grandmother specifically, that generally stands above the rest - flowers. Flowers are a traditional gift for a reason - many people love nothing more than to receive a fresh bouquet of their favourite blooms. Plus, during these uncertain times when your more vulnerable relatives have to remain indoors, the vibrancy and smell of flowers can always help to lift their spirits whenever they’re feeling down. If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting (or if your loved ones have allergies), you can also go beyond a bunch of flowers. Why not try selecting an assortment of plants, compost, and a suitable plant pot? Not only can this give the recipients indoors or garden a new life, but it also encourages a small hobby of caring for the plants. Plus plants have significantly more longevity than cut flowers, meaning they’ll be a reminder of the special event for months and years to come.
9. Get Snapping
In the same way that letters and cards supply a healthy dose of sentimentality, family photos are another gift that many elderly relations will appreciate. While taking up-to-date pictures might be tricky in the current world, you can get creative in that regard. As an example, doorstep photography - where your household dresses up and poses outside your front door – has gathered considerable popularity this year.
Obviously, you don’t have to stick to the idea of sending current snaps. You can always put together a scrapbook that’s full of family photos over the years, all complete with written stories, anecdotes and comments that help to evoke funny, positive memories.
10. Donate to Charitable Causes
Admittedly, this suggestion is probably the most controversial one on the list. I’m sure you’ve seen enough shows that parody a situation where someone receives the gift of giving to someone else, and they’re not all that pleased about it!
Nevertheless, donating to a charity is a noble way of making a difference. This is also a suitable choice if you have to change your original plans because you cannot, for instance, take your parents out for a meal.
To ensure your parents are involved with the decision, consult with them to see what charity they want to support. Even though they might miss out on a gift due to the current lockdown situation, they can feel great about providing a helping hand to those less fortunate.