New Ways to Connect for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching next week, and for many of us, this holiday season is going to be much different than ever before. While SHD and United are fully prepared to welcome travelers this holiday season with safety measures in place, we also know that many of you may not be able to connect in-person with friends and family. To make the holidays a little brighter, we’re sharing some fun ideas of ways to connect virtually with your family and friends. We would love to see how you use these ideas, so feel free to snap a picture and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Holiday Cook-Off 2020 Style
One thing we’ve all been doing a lot more of in 2020 is cooking at home! Show off your cooking skills during the holidays by hosting a virtual family cooking event. You can use an app like Recipe Keeper to compile and share favorite family recipes, so no one misses out on traditional dishes. There’s no time like 2020 to learn how to make Aunt Jane’s famous cranberry sauce! Have everyone gather ingredients for their dish and take turns as the highlighted chef showing everyone else how to make the dish.

To make the event even more fun, take advantage of some friendly competition and have contests for fun categories such as best apron, most beautiful dish presentation, the biggest recipe disaster, etc. Then have everyone vote for the winners! Sweeten the deal by awarding gift cards to a favorite local business in their area. A win-win!

Dining From a Distance
Holiday meals are the catalyst for some of our favorite memories. Even if you can’t gather around the table like normal, there are still ways to connect around the dinner table with those you love. Try coordinating a virtual dinner time where everyone can connect virtually while they have dinner together (but separate!). Make sure to keep the Thanksgiving tradition of having every person share what they’re thankful for this year! To add some variety, consider asking everyone to come prepared to share a favorite family memory or find an embarrassing family photo to share.

Let the Games Begin
Who doesn’t love a good game night, especially during the holidays? Thanks to technology, you can still host an epic game with friends and family from your remote location. The free Houseparty app connects up to eight people at once into a video chat “room” and also has a wide variety of games to choose from, including family favorites like Heads Up, Quick Draw, and even karaoke!


A Classic Connection
For friends and family that might not be tech-savvy, try the lost art of a handwritten letter. We’re used to the idea of sending Christmas cards, but this year, try sending Thanksgiving cards that let that special someone know you’re thankful for them. No matter how young or old you are, it’s always a delight to receive a handwritten note or card in the mail! Challenge yourself to write five letters this holiday season to loved ones. The benefits are far-reaching for both the sender and the receiver.

There are also many older adults in nursing homes and care facilities that could use a boost. Programs like Letters of Love offer opportunities to reach out to an elderly pen pal. You can also check with your local nursing home to see if they have an Adopt-A-Grandparent program.

For people looking for a global connection, Postcrossing is a great resource. Through Postcrossing, you can both send and receive actual (not virtual!) postcards from people across the globe. This is also a great family project that brings geography alive for kids and adults alike!

Give Back to Move Forward
The holidays can be challenging under normal circumstances, and 2020 has added an extra layer of stress. One of the best ways to beat the holiday blues is by giving back. Whether it’s doing a favor for a neighbor or donating to a cause, extending kindness to others is a mutually beneficial experience. If you’re searching for ways to give back, many local nonprofits are hosting virtual events and volunteer opportunities. United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham or United Way of Greater Augusta are great resources for connecting with the nonprofits in our area.

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us but we hope these ideas will give you some inspiration as you plan your holiday celebrations. Whether it’s time to book your next flight or connect virtually with loved ones, SHD is always here to help. Please feel free to contact me or visit flyshd.com if we can be of assistance.