Just because we’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and other occasions. You may not be able to celebrate in person, but thanks to technology there are many inventive ways of connecting with loved ones that will help you show how much you care and appreciate them. We’ve been searching for some ways of celebrating that we think the older members of your family and friendship circles would appreciate.
If you’re in a social bubble, you have more options as you may be able to be in the same room as your loved ones.
In normal circumstances, you’d celebrate birthdays with a day trip – perhaps a day at the zoo, or a tourist attraction, museum or art gallery. Even though this isn’t possible to do in-person during lockdown, why not try a virtual visit. Get the family around the computer – or cast it onto the TV – and together you can ‘walk’ around attractions such as at the Palace of Westminster, or get a closer look at exhibitions, such as the National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still exhibition of 2020. Remember that geography’s not a problem when it comes to day trips, so you can go virtually anywhere in the world… or even the moon!
If you’re missing the chance to go and see a play at the theatre, or go to a concert, there are ways of bringing the almost live experience into your living room. Shakespeare lovers can watch performances staged at the Globe Theatre on globeplayer.tv, classical music lovers can watch concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and if all you’re after is a Christmas panto, online panto is possible too (oh yes it is!). For events on a smaller scale, check out Eventbrite which offers literally thousands of online talks, workshops, tours, comedy… almost anything that takes your fancy!
If you’re not able to be physically present, there are still a number of ways of making your loved ones feel close to you and you can still share experiences together.
Christmas is traditionally the time of year for Carol concerts, but even for people attending them, only the formal performers are allowed to sing in places of worship. So if you like a good sing-along, check online for streamed performances, such as the annual Celebration of Christmas at St Paul’s Cathedral on 17th December which is being televised for the first time ever, and is free of charge. Check Eventbrite for other virtual Carol concerts from around the world.
When we can’t be in the same room as each other, many of us are used to using virtual meeting technology like Zoom, Skype and Teams. They’re a great way of connecting people and allowing us to have a social life when we’re not able to sit in the same room to talk. If it’s a special celebration make sure that everyone on the call has cake to eat and something to raise a toast with. Many independent cafés have adapted to lockdown by offering local delivery services for cakes and even afternoon teas – so why not organise a scrumptious delivery for everyone on the call, a great way of making the celebration even more special.
Older people may not feel confident enough to use technology to join a Zoom call. So, why not organise a Tribute – it’s a new service where you invite people to upload short video messages for someone, which are then put together into a montage of clips. You can rearrange the clips and add some effects, then send the completed video to the recipient either online, or as a USB or video card. Costs are from US$25.
You can now get a karaoke app, Smule, that allows people to indulge in a good old singsong together from wherever they are in the world. Whether you want to sing Disney songs with the kids, tunes from your favourite shows, old Ella Fitzgerald songs or the latest chart toppers, as long as everyone’s comfortable using the app, you’ll have fun together.
This is the obvious one, but that’s no reason not to put a lot of thought into a gift. And rather than log on to the big corporate websites, support local businesses instead. Even the smallest of independent retailers have adapted, creating delivery options as a result of lockdown, so if you can’t physically visit them, check their websites to see what they’re offering. If you’re buying a gift for a book lover, then check out a brand new venture, Bookshop,org, which offers an online ordering system for your local bookshop, so you can always buy from them. Alternatively, go for a unique gift through sites like etsy.co.uk and folksy.com.
However you decide to celebrate your special occasion with your loved ones, there are lots of ways to do it even if you can’t be together.