How to Connect with Family during COVID Holidays

By Extension Assistant Professor, Elizabeth Davis

Celebrating virtually

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us. Working from home, schooling from home, canceling events, activities, and reunions have made this a challenging year for many. As we begin this new year, it is necessary to make adjustments to our typical events and celebrations. Research suggests that love and intimacy impact quality of life more than any other factor, including diet, exercise, stress, or genetics. Time together is an important component of strengthening and maintaining healthy relationships. Many communities are currently under a mask mandate and a social distance order, including a recommendation to limit or cancel social gatherings.

How do we celebrate important milestones, events and stay connected to our loved ones while following medical experts' advice? Below are three tips on how to stay connected during the pandemic and celebrate with family and friend’s long distance.

  1.  When celebrating long distance with loved ones (whether it’s due to COVID, military service, or long distance, scheduled Zoom nights can help with the celebration of birthdays, holidays, Valentine’s day, gal-entine’s day etc.). While it may be challenging to have a meal on zoom, schedule a zoom to make a toast, and take time to connect and express love and gratitude for each other.
  2.  Playing games virtually can be a great way to connect and celebrate with those we love and are separated from. Jackbox has several fun games that can be played virtually, including Quiplash, and Fibage. All of these games are free and easy to use. For information on how to play visit
  3.  Make time to connect individually with your loved ones. When not being physically together, be intentional about using phone calls, texts, Facetime, and any other type of communication to have meaningful communication with those you love.
It is normal to experience grief and disappointment when we cannot physically celebrate with our loved ones as we have in the past. However, as we navigate holidays under these unique circumstances, we can find opportunities to enjoy new traditions and forms of connecting.

Additional Resources:

For additional tips on topics related to relationships see:


Flood, S., & Genadek, K. (2016). Time for each other: Work and family constraints among couples Journal of Marriage and Family 1,: 78(1) 142-164 available