Making Memories: Socially Distant Family Activities to Bring You Together for the Holidays

Making holiday memories with your family is the best time of the year

The joy of gathering your loved ones close for the holidays is irreplaceable. Even if social distancing means you can’t be together physically, there are still many ways to connect with friends and family—whether you’re a few blocks or thousands of miles away.

No matter what holidays you celebrate or how you celebrate them, it’s the people that make them special. This article provides virtual and at-home family activities that help you reach across any distance and make special holiday memories with the ones you love.

beautiful white autumnal display on a white wooden table with white pumpkins and dried wheat featuring a gratitude jar made with avery labels cards and avery templates
Create your own family gratitude jar using clear sticker project paper (Avery 4397) and a chic apothecary jar. Add gratitude prompt cards  printed on two-sided notecards for family members to fill out with permanent markers (Avery 8315, 9230).

Socially distant family activities for giving thanks together

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.

Lionel Hampton

A fantastic way to bring your family together is to give thanks. Family members within your household can bond over family activities that encourage them to practice gratitude together. Sending thanks to loved ones that can’t be with you reminds them that you’re keeping them in your heart.

This year, try these family activities for giving thanks:

Make a family gratitude jar. Set out a decorated “Thankful” jar with supplies for family members to write what they’re thankful for each day or week. Coordinate with other households to keep their own jars. During the Thanksgiving video chat take turns plucking out cards from the jars and reading them out loud.

Write letters to family and friends. Turn letter-writing into a family activity. Gather together to write letters to friends and family telling them how grateful you are for having them in your life. Write some letters for mailing to distant loved ones and some to leave around the house as a nice surprise.

Appreciate nature. Nature-appreciation walks are a super easy family activity to organize. Simply take a family walk and encourage everyone to find three things in nature they appreciate.

Keep gratitude journals. Create gratitude journals and encourage family members to write something they’re thankful for each day. At the end of the day, or once a week, pick a different person to share something from their journal with the rest of the family.

Volunteer online. Helping others makes you appreciate all that you have. Even though in-person volunteering might not be a possibility this year, there are ways you can volunteer online and still make a real impact.

fun family activities made with avery templates including Christmas scavenger hunt postcards and homemade pajamas cards displayed on a wooden pine table with rustic natural Christmas accents and the shirts are displayed on a white wooden table with candy cane accents
Have some fun with printable postcards (Avery 5389) you can use to make an at-home scavenger hunt card. Personalize pajamas using our iron-on fabric transfers (Avery 3271, 3279) and free family pajama template that you can customize with images, text and colors and more.

Fun at-home family activities to get you in a festive mood for the holidays

Even pre-COVID, kids on winter break could get pretty antsy stuck inside. Now more than ever we’re all spending more time looking for fun family activities to do at home. The holidays are the perfect time to think beyond board games and pizza night and shake things up with something new.

Try our list of boredom-busting activities that can help the whole family escape the winter blues and get festive:

At-home scavenger hunt. Print a postcard with holiday-themed items your kids can find around the house. Have them check off the items as they go, or even snap pics on their phones.

Make your own matching pajamas. Use printable fabric transfers to personalize coordinating pajamas. Check out our helpful tips for using fabric transfers to make sure your project turns out just the way you want it.

Craft decorations together. Put on some festive tunes and get the whole family involved in making handmade decorations.

Make homemade gifts for loved ones. Try some of our quick and easy DIY gift ideas or come up with your own. Embrace festive ways to set up socially distant gift exchanges to share your creations.

Curate a holiday movie list. Get the whole family involved in creating a holiday movie list that will last all season long. Coordinate to watch the movies on the same days or organize movie nights where you can all watch movies together online.

Start a holiday book club. Book clubs are wonderful family activities to get everyone talking and sharing ideas. Pick a book to read together and meet friends & family on video chat weekly to discuss. It can be a holiday book or any book the family wants to read over the holidays. 

yummy pumpkin pie in a pastry box surrounded by festive red casserole dishes and kitchen accessories on a white marble counter top everything is decorated with avery tags and labels made using avery templates
Package holiday food favorites to share with local friends and family and use festive templates to decorate labels and tags. Stringed gift tags in various sizes (Avery 22849, 22802) and dissolvable labels (Avery 14224) are perfect for easy removal from reusable containers.

Set up a virtual holiday dinner party for family and friends

Food brings family together. Holiday meals with extended family and friends gather everyone together in a way that may not happen any other time of year. Setting up a virtual dinner party is a way to bring the family together for a shared experience while practicing social distancing.

Here’s a few simple tips to make your virtual dinner party extra special:

  • Assign each family, or household, a signature dish for the event that they will make for the entire group, setting aside portions for each household that’s participating.
  • Label your dishes using personalized templates for tags and dissolvable labels that fit the festive occasion.
  • Coordinate a single pick up location for everyone to pick up and drop off dishes prior to the virtual get together. You can even create your own festive face masks for the occasion using fabric transfers!
  • For family and friends that aren’t local, have everyone email their recipes and a grocery list a couple weeks in advance so that distant loved ones have time to prepare the same dishes.
  • Take the chance to get all glammed up or wear fun matching outfits (or even your matching pajamas.
  • Try adding your own seasonal holiday twists on our favorite ideas for throwing a virtual birthday party.
family recipe book made with an avery binder set on a light countertop and surrounded by baking ingredients next to a cookie decorating kit and clothing with iron on designs made with avery fabric transfers
Preserve family food traditions in a recipe book created with a durable binder and sheet protectors. (Avery 17012, 76000). Personalize cooking outfits for the kids with iron-on fabric transfers for Grandma’s Little Sous Chef and Nana’s Lil Baking Buddy

Family activities that pass down holiday traditions to new generations

Dad’s famous barbecue sauce hitting the grill, grandma letting you taste a bit of cookie batter or mom helping you practice fractions with measuring spoons full of fragrant herbs…. Not only are smells and tastes some of the strongest sensory memories, preparing holiday meals together passes down cultural and family traditions.

Even if you can’t be in the same kitchen, these family activities will help you cook up holiday memories that everyone young and old will cherish:

Create a family recipe book. Collect family recipes in a binder and present them as a gift for every household. Start a tradition of adding new recipes every year. Decorate the cover with a personalized recipe book template.

Pro Tip: Add an extra dash of love to your recipe book with family food stories. Include things like funny kitchen mishaps, which recipes pregnant family members craved and memories of past family meals.

Virtually cook together. Choose a signature dish or dessert, like grandma’s famous chewy gooey chocolate chip cookies, and virtually cook together. Get the kids involved with cute little aprons and personalized junior chef gear.  

Decorate cookies on video chat. Send out kits filled with cookie decorating supplies and instructions ahead of time and then decorate premade or freshly baked cookies together while on video chat. Use self-laminating sheets to cover your instructions so they stay neat and tidy in the kitchen.

Pro Tip:  Purchase a ready-to-go holiday cookie decorating set and you’re half way there.

Find more creative inspiration for family activities during the holidays

If you can’t be together physically, organizing family activities that can be done virtually or through simple old snail mail can help you feel more connected. Follow us on Instagram for more holiday inspiration or check out our ideas section for tons of project ideas you can do as a family.  

You’ll find everything from tips for making the best Christmas card labels to how to decorate holiday candy and so much more.

Whatever family activities you plan for this holiday season remember that it’s all about finding ways to come together regardless of distance. Whether you’re in the same house or miles away, connecting with loved ones is what makes the holiday season magical.

Products Used in This Article

Clear Sticker Project Paper 8-1/2” x 11” (4397 / 94269)
Two-Sided Note Cards 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" (8315)
Ultra Fine Tip Permanent Markers (09230)
Two-Sided Postcards 4" x 6" (5389)
T-Shirt Fabric Transfers 8-1/2" x 11" (3271)
Dark Fabric T-Shirt Transfers 8-1/2" x 11" (3279)
Printable Tags with Strings 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" (22849)
Printable Tags with Strings 2" x 3-1/2" (22802)
Dissolvable Labels 1-1/4" x 2-3/8" (14224)
Durable 1" Binder, White (17012)
Diamond Clear Sheet Protectors (76000)
Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets, 9" x 12" (73603)