Start a Shared Album
Idea From Lizzy on Our Product Team
Throughout this season, we all find ourselves taking photos — inside our homes, outdoor adventures, everyday family moments. Keep distant loved ones in the loop by sharing a digital album you can all contribute to over the coming weeks! We recommend Google Photos, Dropbox, or Apple’s shared albums right on your iPhones. By the new year, you’ll have all the photos you need to print an album or photo calendar and make copies for everyone.
Group Chat With Those Abroad
Idea From Alberto on Our Marketing Team
Have friends or family dispersed around the globe? Stay in touch by sending photos and weekly updates through a group chat service. Whatsapp and Telegram are widely adopted, free platforms that are especially handy for communicating with those abroad! All those quotes and priceless photos (which get grouped by chat!) are preserved, so they're easy to find for photo prints — time capsules of the season that also make for great gifts.
Leave Little Care Packages
Idea From Erin on Our Creative Team
Sometimes, it’s toughest to be apart from friends and family who are a simple drive away. Luckily, this makes leaving little care packages on their front door all the more easy. Some ideas for what could go inside: homemade treats, a take-out gift card, seasonal candle, or bag of local coffee beans. Don’t forget to top it off with your holiday card or photo of you together, including a handwritten note!
Play Movies or Games Virtually
Idea From Tina on Our Customer Experience Team
Thanks to technology, movies and games can still be enjoyed together from afar. Watch a movie using a streaming service, like Scener or Teleparty, or play virtual games remotely on Steam or Jackbox. Some classics like Monopoly and Uno even have their own apps!
Start an Ornament Exchange
Idea From Kristin on Our Brand Team
A simple way to make home feel like the holidays is through decor — starting with the tree. As the centerpiece for many celebrations, this is the perfect place to incorporate meaningful ornaments traded between friends and family to keep them top of mind. To do this, have participants send each other an ornament, whether it’s store-bought or DIY, for a little piece of them to become a part of everyone’s homes.
Swap Holiday Recipes
Idea From Crista on Our Customer Experience Team
'Tis the season for sweet treats and second helpings! For many of us, the holidays revolve around the kitchen, so shared recipes can be the next best thing to cooking for each other. Try starting a recipe swap, then turn the collection into a homemade cookbook. You can even make a copy for each contributor to savor for years to come.
Share in Story Time
Idea From Emily on Our Innovation Team
Grandparents, aunts, and uncles will surely miss spending time with their littles during the holidays. Create a Baby Board Book for relatives to tune in for virtual story time and read aloud while everyone follows along. Sharing photos paired with familiar names and words can help close the distance between you and bring joy to learning.
Count Down Together
Idea From Kristin on Our Marketing Team
If you’re not familiar with Advent calendars, in short, they’re daily countdowns to the 25th of December, with little windows or envelopes for stashed surprises. They also make for creative long-distance Christmas ideas! For each day, incorporate a little photo print and handwritten note to look back on a memory together. Every photo can live in a numbered envelope, or be hung in order to flip around in succession — have fun with it!
Keep It in the Kitchen
Idea From Hayley on Our Creative Team
If you’re like us, baking desserts is synonymous with the holiday season. Just because it’ll be a long-distance holiday, doesn’t mean those meaningful moments in the kitchen can’t happen — in fact, they must for the sake of cookies. So put your phone or laptop on the counter and keep the tradition (and dessert table) alive by baking together via video chat. You can even try the same recipe to go step-by-step together and compare results!
Host a Virtual Happy Hour
Idea From Madeleine on Our Brand Team
Shake up the typical virtual happy hour by sending out a cocktail recipe for attendees to make for the get-together. Better yet — schedule a weekly digital gathering, and trade off who gets to choose the cocktail. Be sure to send out the ingredients in advance so everyone can have them on hand!
Make a Shared Playlist
Idea From Lyndee on Our Design Services Team
Nothing lifts spirits quite like music. Have everyone in your family or friend group add songs (holiday or otherwise) to a collaborative playlist, creating a shared soundtrack for the season. Bonus points for all playing it when opening your gifts, baking, or playing games together virtually!
Open Gifts Together
Idea From Anna on Our Design Services Team
The pinnacle of the season doesn’t have to be spent apart. Now that many of us are video conferencing experts, opening gifts together via Zoom, Hangouts, or Facetime will feel like second nature. Don’t forget to hit record to create family videos that will be perfectly representative of 2020.
Note: We'd love to see how your family gets creative, as well as reactions to your thoughtful gifts! If you have video of someone opening theirs, you can share that holiday spirit (and watch some of our favorites!) here.
Tips for Taking Photos Via Video Chat
Even when virtually gathering, we’re fans of capturing the moments you spend together. Here are a few tips for taking photos and screenshots during video calls on different platforms!
To start, opt for a screen layout that shows as many faces as possible in a grid view. Then, make sure you give everyone a heads-up! From there…
Tips for Taking Photos Via Video Chat
Zoom and Google Meet / Hangouts
Use your device’s native screenshot tool or shortcut to snap a shot of everyone on your call. On a phone, this is usually the power button + volume button. On Mac OS, it’s Shift + CMD + 3 for the full screen (you can crop it later) or Shift + CMD + 4 for a specified portion portion. On Windows, use the Print Screen button or Snipping Tool / Snip & Sketch (activated with Windows Key + Shift + S).
While you can use the same methods outlined above, FaceTime also allows you to take a Live Photo during your call with the white, circular button. Make sure everyone has that option toggled on in their settings (it usually is by default) by going to Settings > FaceTime > allow FaceTime Live Photos. Once snapped, you’ll find the images in your Photos app, with the rest of your camera roll.