Three safe ways to be social during winter break

Spend time with your friends while staying safe over the holidays

You can still have fun with friends, even if you're not together.

This winter break, I’ll be spending my holiday apart from my friends—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still hang out.

My hometown is a COVID-19 hotspot, so like many other students returning home for their break, I won’t be able to spend time with my friends face to face. Fortunately, my friends and I became well versed in the art of planning activities over video calls this summer. 

While nothing can replace seeing each other in person, I’ve put together a list of alternatives to break the monotony of never-ending Zoom calls and repetitive phone conversations to try with your friends over the holidays.

Plan a slideshow night

I can’t take credit for coming up with this one—it was inspired by a trend I saw on TikTok in the early days of lockdown this spring. 

The premise is straightforward, but requires a bit of preparation: you and your friends each pick an absurdly niche topic, prepare an elaborate slideshow and script, and present your finished products over a screenshared video call. The result is hilarious: my friends spanned topics from “Ranking the entire Kardashian family from most to least favourite” to “Why Adam Driver is the most attractive person alive (or dead).”

If you want to spice things up, you can swap scripts and slideshows, and have everyone present a topic that isn’t their own. My friends and I also made up award categories and voted on our favourite slideshows.

Play games online

You can still have a game night over Zoom—there’s a wide selection of apps and games out there that allow you to connect with your friends to play together online. 

If you’re a traditionalist, you’re bound to virtual versions of your favourite board games, like Monopoly and Clue. If you’re looking to try something new, I can vouch for Among Us and the JackBox Party Pack game series—both are incredibly fun and unlike any other games I’ve played before. Just hop on a phone or video call, pull up your game of choice, and get playing.

Have a virtual paint night

This is an activity that I haven’t had a chance to try in a group yet, but is definitely in the works.

Find a painting tutorial online—I recommend Bob Ross—grab your art supplies, and follow along together. This requires some preparation, but if you and your friends aren’t artists, you can pick up cheap supplies fairly easily. 

I’ve followed a few tutorials myself, and I found it to be a surprisingly calming experience. I can only imagine it’d be great to share with friends—if you’re not artistically inclined, compare finished products for a laugh. If you and your friends are competitive, you can turn paint night into a friendly competition. 


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