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Making the most of the holidays virtually

Reading Time: 5 minutes
"by " HearingLife

If you can’t wait to put 2020 behind you and start fresh in 2021, you’re not alone. Before the year ends, however, we still have the holiday season. No matter what you celebrate—Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or a mix—the holidays this year will look different. But different doesn’t have to mean boring. Following are suggestions for how to share some holiday cheer with your family and friends without leaving your living room.

Ever wondered how to wish friends “Happy Holidays” in Swahili or Indonesian? (By the way, it’s “Furaha ya likizo” and “Selamat berlibur,” respectively.) You can find more holiday greetings in more than 100 languages to add to your holiday cards.

You can hear holiday greetings in 54 languages, including American Sign Language, or watch the complete video here:

Now you have something other than the standard holiday greetings to share with your sister-in-law, grandchildren or best friends.

Shedding some light virtually

Need to get out of the house, but not sure where to go and remain socially distanced? Find holiday lights in your area in this database of light displays. Plug in your ZIP code, then hop in the car and drive around to decide which are your favorites (or not-so-favorites). And if your holiday lights are display-worthy, you can upload your info to the database so others can appreciate the time and attention you put into your holiday style.

Is it too cold outside for your liking? How about viewing some of the best holiday lights in each state from the comfort of your own home? Travel and Leisure has gathered last year's lights from every state. you can find the roundup from 2019 here.

Why go virtual?

With travel restrictions, health and safety concerns, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing for holidays recommendations, many families will be separated this year. Although virtual visits may not be the preference during the holidays, the CDC advises that remote celebrations remain the safest option for everyone.

Sometimes virtual gatherings have their advantages. Other years, there may not be enough space to host the extended family. This year, though, “the more, the merrier” is possible via videoconferencing.

What seemed like science fiction in the not-too-distance past, has morphed into a common occurrence: video chats. Besides various cell phone options, Tech Radar has outlined which apps can accommodate larger groups. Zoom, which can accommodate up to 100 people on a call, has become a household name during the latter half of 2020. There are other free videoconferencing possibilities, including Skype (up to 50), 8x8 Meet (up to 50), and Cisco Webex Meetings (up to 100).

Family members with special needs, such as limited mobility or hearing loss, may find it easier to participate and feel included in virtual celebrations where they have control over conditions in their own environment. In fact, people who treat their hearing loss with Bluetooth®-enabled hearing aids may have a slight advantage. To learn about optimal videoconferencing for those who wear hearing aids, go to Streaming Zoom with Hearing Aids.

Like many, you may be tired of negative news. Fortunately, the Good News Network offers a change of pace with positively focused stories. Established in 1997, GNN’s website offers an archive of 21,000 positive news stories from around the globe. You may even want to share your favorite stories with loved ones.

Want to share your thoughts and good wishes with deployed members of the military, veterans, and first responders? You can send holiday greetings via Operation Gratitude, where you find out how to volunteer, including letter-writing campaigns, collection drives and craft projects.

Making the most of the holidays this year may mean modifying your celebration. And at the same time, you can create new traditions that may last long past current restrictions.

HearingLife is trying new ways to celebrate, too!

Recently HearingLife produced a lively virtual choir video to celebrate the importance of connecting with loved ones during this challenging holiday season. It also thanks everyone for being part of our worldwide hearing care network, with a fun rendition of Thank You for Being a Friend.