Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More
Blog

Planning a Virtual Holiday Party

With the increased risk for COVID-19 expected to continue through the holiday season, many people are planning virtual celebrations with family and friends. Stay in touch while staying safe during the holidays.

Stay in touch while staying safe during the holidays.

Pick a Virtual Platform

A variety of free services are available for your virtual party. Most platforms offer video as well as voice calls and work on both web browsers and mobile devices.   

Here are a few popular services for your virtual party: 

Service Platform Number of Participants
Zoom Web, App (Android, iOS)
Up to 100 people
Google Meet Web, App (Android, iOS)
Up to 50 people
Google Duo Web, App (Android, iOS) Up to 32 people
FaceTime Group Mac, iOS
Up to 32 people 
Houseparty Web, App (Android, iOS
Up to 8 people
Facebook Rooms Web, App (Android, iOS)
Up to 50 people
Skype Web, App (Android, iOS) Up to 50 people
WhatsApp App (Android, iOS)
Up to 50 people
Evite Web, App (Android, iOS)
Unlimited
Choosing the right app and device for your virtual holiday party

Choosing the best app for your virtual party.

Questions to ask:
  • What device will each person use? Most services work across devices, such as desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. A few tools work on certain systems or are only available as mobile apps.  
  • What are people in your group already using? It might make sense to pick the service more people are familiar with. 
  • Is an app download or user account required? If so, be sure to let everyone know to download and sign up ahead of time.
  • Is there a time limit or maximum number of people who can participate? Some free options may limit the length of the session or the size of the group.
  • Are there any security concerns with the app or website? Most well-known tools have security and safety features. As with other services, parents should supervise app downloads and settings for children.  

Follow These Virtual Party Tips for Success

  • Have a host to coordinate and communicate. 
  • Agree on a start and end time. 
  • Send an invitation with detailed instructions. Include a link to the “How To” page for the app. 
  • Know how to mute/unmute your microphone and change view settings. 
  • Explore app features like backgrounds, emojis, chats, filters, and stickers.
  • Have a test call ahead of time to work out any problems.
  • Remind everyone to charge their devices.  
  • Know how you will connect, such as Wi-Fi or mobile data. If your connection is poor, turn off video or extra features.
  • Plan the position of the camera and check the lighting. The best lighting is to have light in front of you, not behind. 
  • Don’t put too many people in the camera at once. You might set up multiple devices or pass the camera around every so often.
  • Make it festive and include favorite traditions.
  • Plan fun activities. Keep it low-stress, and don’t try to fit too much in. If an activity doesn’t work, move on! 
  • Enjoy being together and making memories. Don’t forget to take a few pictures (screenshots)! 

Download a Free Virtual Background

 
Have fun and continue family traditions by planning party activities.

Plan Virtual Party Games and Activities

Share recipes. Food is often the center of holiday gatherings and family traditions. Bring everyone together by having family favorites on the menu. Have a family recipe swap. Then, decide on a few recipes to prepare. You can even vote on which version came out the best.

Cook together. Gather in the kitchen virtually. Set a time to prepare the meal together. This is a good way to get a cooking lesson on that favorite family recipe.

Set the table. Share in the holiday experience by planning similar decorations or have the same flower arrangement. Involve kids in making crafts to display. 

Watch a parade, game, or movie. Gather around the television virtually to watch your usual holiday show or football game. Add to the fun by having trivia contests or friendly bets.

Make time to laugh and share. Pick a few questions that fit your group. Some of the answers will probably surprise you!

Question ideas:

  • What are you most thankful for?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite holiday memory?
  • What is your favorite holiday food?
  • What is your least favorite holiday food?
  • If you were able to plan the entire holiday meal (anything at all!) and make it magically appear, what would we be eating?  
  • What was the holiday gift you always asked for but never got?
  • Did you ever find or unwrap a holiday present early? Did you tell?
  • What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • What holiday character do you identify with the most and why? 
  • What is something you learned this past year?

Play games. You can find a lot of virtual game ideas online. Some are low-tech, like bingo or trivia. But there are a variety of games that people can play together on their devices.  

Take pictures. Family pictures might not look the same this year, but they can still be fun. Take screenshots of the party. Plan some pictures where everyone is looking at the camera. For laughs, surprise pictures are fun too!

Include traditions. Think about the family customs that you can do virtually. Gather around for the turkey carving, family blessing, toast, candle lighting, favorite holiday story, or gratitude sharing.  

Find more holiday activity ideas:


Reviewed: December 2020