As we head into winter and the likelihood of a new lockdown the peppy Go-Gos pop song seems more like a wistful lament.
Since we really can’t get away it is time to start coming up with some creative ways to gather for the holidays, at a distance.
One thing I know many of us have been doing is more frequent video calling with friends and loved ones.I have a friend who, missing his usual monthly surf music night at Otto Shrunken' Head in Manhattan, decided to try and host his own but without a good way to connect the music into the speakers the audio quality was not great and any time anyone wanted to say anything the music would be superseded. Alas we are not all audio engineers. But it is still and increasingly easy to do fun things with people without needing to be in the same room.
A prime example might be gaming, going beyond some of the latest consoles and MMORPGs that require an investment and a level of involvement that many of us can’t or won’t commit to. It is possible to enjoy some lighter board game through free services like Board Game Arena https://en.boardgamearena.com/
Which hosts a number of games that can be played in groups. You can set up a gaming table, invite your friends and all play along while engaging in a parallel video chat, it is possible to enjoy a very full game night experience. The games are ranked by length of play, level of strategy, and difficulty. So it is quite easy to pick the right game for a short break or a whole evening.
If you are a little more old school and a lot more patient why not revive the old tradition of pen pals. Writing back and forth in long form to keep your favorite people informed is very satisfying and you never know, someday someone might collect all those missives into a book. Also if you want to bring it back to gaming there used to be a tradition of long distance chess between friends. Once upon a time two good friends might spend their time contemplating individual boards set up identically in their study and write down the next move, slip it into an envelope and await a reply. It occurs to me that there may be other strategy games that could be played this way. Heck, now might be the perfect time to invent some playful way to play Jenga through the mail, or Backgammon. Plus it supports the USPS. (If you are so inclined.)
We at Web Samurai for Hire are pioneering the Vinner Party. What is a Vinner Party I hear you asking well very simply a virtual dinner party. Pizza is the easiest as everyone has a favorite pizza joint to order from. But more elaborately we have been working with local establishments to do online ordering with coordinated delivery (within a reasonable distance) and a Zoom link for a bunch of folks to enjoy that hot dish of risotto along with their friends around a communal table, virtually.
The last thing that I might suggest is a personal review. I know that I personally have many old photo albums and boxes of pictures from the old days when photographs came on paper. Why not take the time to sort through those old memories and put together some scrap books for people in your life that you can’t be close to right now. I guarantee that this kind of personal gift will mean more than anything you could get them from Amazon.
That said I want us all to remember to shop small this holiday season. But if we can’t go down to Main Street and go into the shops there how can you do that, I hear you asking.
Well one thing I can suggest is gift certificates and gift cards. Call your local stores and ask them if you can purchase these kinds of gifts for your friends and family in their local communities. To that end we here at Web Samurai would like to extend an invitation to all of the local, small, and family owned businesses to participate in our “Shop Local Online” program. If you are or know someone who might benefit from having their business boosted, want to offer gift certificates and online purchases to a wider audience, give them a shout out. We will be happy to showcase them on our website or include them in our Gift Certificate Portal. Let us know where you are and we will see what we can do to help. But go ahead and reach out to your local favorites and ensure that they are selling gift cards and if not Web Samurai will help them get that set up so they can participate in some of that internet shopping money.