We’re down to the last 10 days until Christmas—just about your last chance to get that package into the mail in time for it to be delivered by the big day. Meanwhile, much of the state remains under stay-at-home orders. (Thank God for free shipping!) So to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy this holiday season, we’ve been asking our Masonic Homes, Acacia Creek and Grand Lodge teams for suggestions of ways to tap into the festive spirit while remaining social distant.
This week, we thought we’d empty Santa’s bag of goodies and tear into a bunch of great ideas all at once.
From human resources business partner Maricela Perry:
“One thing I’m doing with my family this holiday is putting together a picture slideshow with holiday music. I have collected old and recent photos taken during past Christmases with family and friends to watch together over Facetime/Zoom/Instagram. I thought it would be a good idea to share the fond memories we created to get us through the holiday. It’s a perfect time for kids to ask questions and share in the fun by making comments about how goofy we looked back in the day or marvel at the ‘old’ technology we used. It’s a great reason to dust off the old photo albums.”
From executive assistant Ranshu Malini:
“You don’t have to miss out on any spirited singing this year. You can easily create a room on Sync Video, a free, no-sign-up service that lets you precisely sync videos so that every attendant of your virtual Christmas party can watch them at the same time. Once your room is open and you have your attendants, you can queue up a bunch of karaoke hits on YouTube and each person can belt their holiday heart out.”
And another endorsement for online karaoke, this from MCYAF Business Manager Olivia Fermin:
“A super fun and safe way to celebrate the holiday season that is great for kids, family, friends, and also for seniors is to do virtual karaoke. This could also be great for team building! Someone can be the KJ (a karaoke DJ) and everyone can perform their hearts out singing songs that they love. You can do duets, or even coordinate so certain people sing pieces of a song so that everyone can participate. You can also record the virtual karaoke session on Zoom so that you can look back and cherish these memories again and again! If you’re not that great with technology, you can contact Wild SF, who are professionals at hosting virtual karaoke sessions and parties.
Here’s a few tips on hosting Zoom karaoke:
- Chat the KJ (karaoke DJ) to be put in the queue
- Find your song on YouTube (search [song title] karaoke)
- Reduce the volume on the YouTube video to 30-40%
- When it’s your turn, click ‘sharescreen’ on Zoom and…
- You must also check ‘share computer sound’ (atbottom left)
- Sing your heart out!”
From brain health education coordinator Lia Gibson:
“Have grandparents videotape themselves reading Christmas books to share with their grandchildren.”
From lodge and outreach coordinator Camille Salinas:
“Hot Chocolate Happy Hour: Have a Zoom meeting with family or friends and put on your cozy winter PJs and put on some Christmas/holiday music in the background to get into the holiday spirit! You can make it fun and showcase all your hot chocolate drinks, and even make into a contest. This a great, safe, and most importantly fun way to stay connected during the holidays 😊”
From MOS care manager Shelly Jioia:
“I came across a great idea that unites families and communities during these difficult times. In my community we have a group on NextDoor, and we have several neighbors on the app. We have organized a safe-at-a-distance event. On Christmas Eve, all the families and neighbors will step out onto their doorsteps and ring a bell to spread the Christmas spirit and to help Santa’s sleigh get enough magic to make it through the night. This is a winner for all—the elderly, families at a distance, and families with children. The Masonic Homes has had a similar doorstep toast for our seniors, and this could be even more interactive. You can FaceTime or Skype or Zoom with your loved ones while you are ringing the bells and take photos and share them. For those with children, families can have their children design, draw, color, and create fliers and then post them on the doors of your neighbors in case they don’t have the app or aren’t aware of the plans. Let’s end this awful, unusual year with an amazing memory of hope, magic, togetherness, and love to those close to us and in our communities. We are all in this together! 😊”
Well said, Shelly. Thanks to all for sending in their tips—and a reminder that there’s one more week to send in your own before Christmas. Keep ’em coming!
Resources for Staying Healthy
As you likely know, much of California is now in the most-restrictive “purple” tier of shutdown, with stay-at-home orders in place. For official guidance about staying healthy this holiday season, please visit these sites to stay up-to-date:
- State of California Holidays and COVID-19
- Alameda County COVID-19 Main Website
- Los Angeles County COVID-19 Main Website
- San Francisco County COVID-19 Main Website
- Center for Disease Control Holiday Guidelines
For the latest news about the Masonic Homes and COVID-19, including employee policies, visit the Masonic Homes website or the Acacia Creek Website.