This year has definitely been grim and despite the holidays around the corner, it might be hard to get into the holiday spirit. Usually around this time, my roommates and I decorate our apartment, bake some cookies and watch movies, but with me 3,000 miles away from Berkeley, it is a bit difficult to do that. With COVID-19 cases increasing, I brainstormed with some of my friends on how to enjoy the holidays with activities while being socially distant. We have a few activities in mind that you can enjoy as well.


cookie, sweet, gingerbread, pastry, candy, cake
Kristine Mahan

Baking is an integral part of my love language towards my friends. Every sleepover or movie night that my friends and I have had, baking cookies, cupcakes or even bread has been an important part of it. While baking on Zoom has led to some problems, decorating, on the other hand, is a simpler activity that works well online. As we get closer to Thanksgiving weekend, my friends and I have decided to each individually build and decorate a gingerbread house. This is a fun activity that does not really require many utensils, so you can have fun over Zoom without worrying that something is burning. If gingerbread houses or gingerbread cookies are not your speed, you can also make a DIY cookie decorating kit with a cookie of your choice and send them out as holiday gifts. This is a great way to spend time with friends and get into the holiday spirit and it even ends with a sweet treat in the end.

Arts and Crafts

Photo by Jyoti Singh on Unsplash

Unsplash on unsplash

Diwali is coming up in just a few weeks, and as an Indian America, I am anticipating its arrival. The "Festival of Lights" usually involves adorning the house with lights and coloring  it with rangoli. This fascinating art uses powdered colors arranged in intricate designs. Though this activity has always been one that I do with my mom, I decided to extend this enterprise to my friends. None of us are experts in doing this craft but we have decided to follow some simple YouTube tutorials and try it out together through Zoom. With finals coming around the corner, this activity with my friends will be a great stress-reliever. If you do not celebrate Diwali, research holidays that you do celebrate and how you can add some activities to celebrate with friends in a socially distant way.


coffee, cake
Emily Genzer

Movies always put me into the holiday mood and with Netflix party and other shared streaming services, I can enjoy them with my friends. There is nothing sweeter than getting cozy on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and hot chocolate while watching a Christmas movie. My friends and I have made a movie list from which we will watch one every other weekend until January to give ourselves a break once in a while as the semester gets a bit stressful. You can even add activities during the movie. If movies are not to your liking, there are many online games that you can play while you Facetime with your friends. 

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I am typically getting ready to create a Thanksgiving menu with my aunt and decorate the tree with my family and friends, while also brightening the house with rangoli and clay lamps for Diwali. Unfortunately, I cannot do most of these activities with the people I love, so I have created a plan to do some activities while being socially distant to keep me in the holiday mood. I hope these activities give you as much joy as they have given to me.