Celebrating The Festive Season Safely In A Time Of COVID-19

Safety measures and social distancing doesn’t have to mean a bleak festive season spent alone or in small groups only. Here are some ideas for celebrating safely with friends and colleagues from the comfort of everyone’s homes.

The wonders of technology can go a long way in making this holiday season even more exciting.

The holiday season is usually a time to get together with family and friends and lighten up the office atmosphere with colleagues. With COVID-19 still looming over us, however, many year-end activities will need to be tweaked to continue being celebrated safely.

Luckily, festive cheer can still be enjoyed with the wonders of technology and communication tools, bringing us closer to one another while we stay physically apart.

Secret Santa

Without being able to get together with friends and colleagues, your traditional Secret Santa gift-exchange will need an upgrade.

Through Draw Names, you and your friends can each drop a name in a virtual box. After drawing out the name of your lucky receiver, buy a gift (preferably through e-commerce sites to avoid Christmas shopping crowds) and have it sent via a delivery service.

Tip: To ensure top-secret anonymity, share a secure, password-protected list of everyone’s home addresses beforehand.

On your designated gift-exchange day, gather through a video call to open your presents one by one and guess who is each other’s Secret Santa.

In the spirit of giving, you can also do a poll for causes to make a collective donation to. Get ideas from Giving.sg on causes to support, and maximise your donations by taking advantage of the platform’s zero transaction fees that will last until March 31, 2021.

Feast your eyes on the annual Christmas light-up.

Virtual Christmas Light-Up

Befitting the mood of 2020, the annual Orchard Road Christmas light-up must still go on, though it can be said to be slightly muted this year.

Without jostling with the crowd or contributing to traffic to catch the light-up, you can get a complete 360-degree view of a brightly lit-up Orchard Road on Youtube. You’ll get to experience the bright lights from Tanglin Mall to Scotts Road from the perspective of a driver.

To recreate that perfect festive atmosphere, switch off your lights and play the video on the largest screen you can find. If you prefer, you can mute the video and play some classic Christmas songs of your own. You can’t go wrong with Spotify’s playlist of holiday hits.

Enjoy a movie marathon with a Netflix party.

Run a Christmas Movie Marathon

It’s not the holiday season without watching Christmas movies. Whether it’s Home Alone, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, The Grinch or Love Actually, these classics always get us into the holiday spirit.

With restrictions on the number of guests, you can invite a good alternative to gather everyone for a movie marathon is with a Netflix party.

Through third-party Chrome browser extensions such as Teleparty or Watch Netflix Together, you and your party “guests” can binge-watch holiday classics together and chat in real-time through the app’s group text chat.

Why not try some of Netflix's Christmas originals like the award-winning Klaus and The Christmas Chronicles?

Get more out of your holiday with SingapoRediscover Vochers.

All rights belong to the Singapore Tourism Board

If you prefer to celebrate from a local hotel or attraction, why not make use of your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers this holiday season?

Get ideas for using your SingapoRediscover Vouchers from other public officers and recommendations from Challenge:

Set up zoom karaoke sessions with your best buds.

Christmas Carol Karaoke

Karaoke lounges will be off-limits for a while. Karaoke home set-ups risk annoying neighbours in Singapore’s close confines. So what can you do if you still want to have a singalong session?

For simplicity, Zoom – or any web-conference software with screen-sharing capabilities – will do in a pinch.

Other than group calls, a service such as Watch2Gether will also come in useful: you can assemble a queue of karaoke videos from popular video platforms including YouTube, and share a group link for a singing session with a synchronised audio and video player.

Though tracks can be added on the fly, putting in some work beforehand to collect song suggestions and prepare the playlist will make the group karaoke session go smoother.

Music streaming service Spotify also has a new Group Session option for up to five listeners. The fun lies in everyone being able to control playback while listening.

Get more out of your holiday with SingapoRediscover Vochers.

All rights belong to Spotify

For added fun, run a competition for the most creative karaoke party outfit, with bonus points for the most unusual items that can stand-in for a microphone. Spotify's playlist of Christmas Carols.

Invest in virtual reality headsets and play VR games with your friends.

Host a Virtual Game Party

If you’re itching to host fun parties during these socially distanced time, consider investing in game consoles or virtual reality (VR) headsets.

VR games such as VR Chat and sandbox games (video games that give players a great degree of creativity to complete tasks) such as Minecraft and Animal Crossing: New Horizons allow players to create their own towns and worlds that they can invite their friends to.

In these virtual spaces, you and your friends can partake in several activities such as exploring different built worlds, giving in-game presents and circling around a virtual Christmas tree.

While it may not be the same as visiting someone’s house, talking or chatting with your friends and colleagues through game avatars is an opportunity to create new memories.

Building and exploring virtual worlds is also a great opportunity to learn new skills and explore different experiences – could this lead to more exciting work meetings in the future, perhaps?

If video games are not your thing, simple paper-based games like Hangman and Pictionary can be played over Zoom using the White Board feature while others like Heads Up!, based on charades, can also be organised with everyone installing the app and playing through Zoom.

No matter which games you and your party pals choose to play, remember to make the 2020 festive season a unique experience that you’ll never forget.

    Dec 15, 2020
    Shantosh R
    Ryan Ong
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