At holiday time, we focus on getting together with people we don’t get to see enough of during the rest of the year. We don’t really want to spend this time glued to our devices, but we can use online tools to plan for and enhance our time together.
Here are some things I’ve found to help make the holidays sparkle for me and mine.
Holiday Planning Tools
Evernote Keep various notes in the cloud, accessible by phone and tablet and computer
Our Groceries List maker – alphabetizes and categorizes, Alexa enabled.
Excel or Google Sheets for things that need to be sorted in different ways, like the Christmas present list
Tools for reaching out
Evite Send invitations virtually, even by text. (I know, but maybe this way you’ll get responses from the young folks?)
Cardstore/Shutterfly Great for creating paper invitations, and custom Christmas cards.
Holiday Entertaining Ideas
Pinterest – Access what the creative folks you know (or don’t know) are up to!
Hook your phone/tablet/computer/echo/google home to a speaker and enjoy holiday programming on Pandora and
Spotify. Or ask the younguns to play what they are listening to these days. Ask family members to put together play lists that can be rotated during the gathering.
- Wii Sports (bowling is fun)
- Jeopardy (available on multiple platforms, including Alexa!)
- Use Chromecast to let family members show everyone a fun game they enjoy on their phone/tablet by displaying it on the TV
- There’s a Karaoke app for Android that works with Chromecast No word whether it’s made it to the Apple App Store yet, though.
Things to watch together
- Ask everybody in advance to think of something (short) on YouTube they think others would enjoy, then play as many of them as you have time for. This is a great way to take the pulse of the younger generation, and to teach them a bit of family culture. Learning what others find funny and why is a GREAT use of family time.
- Ask people to send ahead a few pictures from the past year. Put them together and have a slide show where people take turns talking about the photo they sent.
- Netflix has a selection of Christmas Movies, most of which I’ve never heard of!
- Cue up a few favorite holiday movies. YouTube has a surprising number of them available, uncut, but you are safer with the links to titles they charge to rent or buy than with some of the scammy pirated ones.
- We actually haul out the DVD player for our must-watches:
- A Muppet Christmas Carol
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Santa Claus vs. the Martians
Wishing you hot cocoa and many smiles this holiday!