Like everything else in 2020, this holiday season is going to look a little different. Menorah lightings are going virtual, Santa is behind plexiglass, and Zoom happy hours are the new holiday party. One thing that won’t change is the desire to stay connected to family and friends. But with everything going online, I know the idea of yet another video call might seem tedious. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up some fun ideas for how to stay connected without having to send out a calendar invite:

Holiday Recipe Exchange

Sourdough bread, anyone? With everyone staying home, cooking has been on the rise, as have searches for new recipes. If you have family or friends who like to cook, one way to stay connected to one another is by sharing the recipes you make over email, text, or in a messaging app. As everyone has time to cook one another’s recipes, they can share photos of how they turned out, or tips for things they tried.

If you are looking for inspiration, check out some of the DoubleShot team’s favorite holiday treats. Afterall, calories don’t count during the holidays – right?

Peppermint Macarons

High-Score Competition

For the gamers among us, or just those with more of a competitive streak, challenge your friends and family to beat your high score in your favorite app or online game. Snapchat Games introduced a Leaderboard function last year that lets you challenge your friends on games within the app. Or take it back to the early 2010s with Draw Something, Words with Friends, or QuizUp, all of which offer the option for asynchronous play with friends.

An even simpler approach is just to take a screengrab of your high score in your favorite mobile or online game and challenge friends or family in a group chat to beat it. Ketchapp Games makes a number of score-based apps like 2048, ZigZag, Stack, and Ballz that work well for this purpose. Trash-talking is optional, but encouraged.

Digital Photo Frame

If you have family far away, particularly grandparents of young kids, a nice way to share your day-to-day moments is through digital photos. A digital photo frame can be a great option if you want a more long-lasting way to share those images, while also offering a way to display them in your loved one’s home.

There are a number of options out there that allow you to share photos to a frame via email or an app, but I like how Aura frames can be set up to automatically display photos as they get added to a particular Google photo album. Aura also offers the option to ship a frame to someone else and add a greeting message, photos, and even a wifi password online, allowing the frame to start displaying images from the moment the recipient plugs it in—a great gift option for those that are less tech-savvy.

1.4 trillion digital photos will be taken in 2020

Ornament Exchange

Ornament exchanges are a great way to trade small gifts with friends and family. With so many options out there, you can be sure to find something that fits everyone’s tastes or interests, while creating a keepsake they can bring out every year. If you have a group, have everyone virtually draw names then send an ornament to the person they pick. As people receive their ornaments, everyone can share photos of where they’ve hung them to continue spreading the holiday cheer.

Crafting Together, Apart

Between the weather and the pandemic, there’s a good chance we’ll all be spending a lot of time inside these next couple months, so what better time to learn a new skill? It’s also a great way to connect with your crafty friends and family. Have everyone order a DIY kit or watch an online class, then share photos of your creations with one another. There are kits and courses out there for all kinds of things. Here are a few of our favorites:

Virtual Ugly Sweater Party

Sure, you and your friends could all get on Zoom in your holiday finest, but if your schedules don’t seem to match up, you can still share pics of your best ugly sweater in a group chat or on social media, to spread some holiday cheer. The DoubleShot team will be getting in the spirit all week long over on Instagram – join in on the virtual fun by posting your own sweater pics with the hashtag #CreateWithDSC

How are you staying connected to family and friends this holiday season? Any ideas I didn’t mention for keeping in touch without having to schedule some digital face-to-face time? Let me know in the comments below!