For many of you, today marks the first full week of being quarantined, or day seven, for those of you using a more traditional method of counting the days spent indoors. For a time usually celebrated as the last day before a week or more of pure freedom, this week will have a bittersweet feeling. Yes you’ll still get the much requested and valuable time with your significant others, kids, or in some cases both, but it will be in a restrained and confined environment with limited options on the menu. 

And I’m sure beyond certain that you’re all being overwhelmed with bad news, negativity, boredom, and anything else the world of social media can throw at you. For a system designed to better connect us, it really doesn’t do a great job of that most of the time, or perhaps we don’t. Either way, it’s a sewer tunnel that one must wade and sift through to find the good. Fear not dear readers, as I have done that for you, and at a great personal cost to my sanity (what’s left of it). 

Here are the things being suggested that we as a society take part in while being isolated. So what can you do when going to social gatherings and entertainment are not an option? 

For starters, spread holiday cheer. We’re mostly stuck indoors during the month of December anyway, so why not treat the outside of your home like that’s still going on? This Time article speaks to how giving your neighborhood a visual assortment of decorations could help brighten the mood, and yours. 

Why only put the holiday spirit outside? To help make those quasi-holiday moments feel more real, the Hallmark Channel will be launching a marathon of 27 Christmas movies, starting this morning at 9am. Nothing makes the holidays feel closer than 27 movies that all have roughly the same plot and characters. It’s like they’re trying to be Marvel or something.  

Would love to take the kids to the zoo but the zoo can’t come to you? Well now it can! Many zoos around the country have live feeds of their animals for you to watch around the clock. Some are even offering viewers live animal talk, with zoologists interacting with families to share fun facts about the creatures on camera. 

In an attempt to keep folks happy watching new material without heading to the theater, Disney and Universal are dropping select titles directly to home theaters much earlier than anticipated. For those of you waiting to see Frozen 2 or Star Girl, those titles dropped to Disney+ earlier this week. For those who were bummed to miss out on the Hunt, and reboots of Emma and the Invisible Man, these feature films will be available on demand for a relatively low rental price of 19.99. Trolls World Tour will be available on demand sometime in April, most likely to release to theaters and on demand services simultaneously, depending on how circumstances change between today and Easter Weekend. You can bet this is just the tip of the iceberg, and more distribution and production companies that don’t want to delay openings or miss out on sales will be dropping early as well. 

Want to watch an old favorite with an old friend or group? Netflix and Google have you covered. In an effort to embrace socialization while keeping the appropriate distance, the two media mammoths have added a feature to Google Chrome called “Netflix Party” that lets users synchronize their streaming with friends and chat all the while. You could also download Google Hangouts (for all users, not just android or apple) and video chat while streaming a title from your home theater. The Netflix party option is for computer use only, unless your streaming box or TV has chrome built in, in which case go nuts.

Need your concert fix but don’t want to wait for large gatherings to be back on the table? Many artists are now streaming live concerts daily, as they need the social outlet just as much as you. Most if not all of these free concerts will be streamed on Facebook, so you shouldn’t need to figure out a way to watch them, just download the app and get in the virtual mosh pit. 

Need some supplies but not sure you can or should go to the store? Check out the Nextdoor app, which lets users connect with their neighbors while keeping their distance, ask or offer supplies, and share stories and advice as well. It’s the closest thing we have to asking our neighbor for a cup of sugar in these trying times. 

Want or maybe even need to keep a basic daily schedule but you’re so far down the rabbit hole of days blending together you don’t know where to start? Check out this post about the daily schedule released by mom and photographer Jessica McHale, which encourages keeping daily goals that not only keep you focused, but more importantly, keeps you and your family sane. 

Well that’s all for now friends, hope you are all doing well in your homes and just as importantly – staying healthy both mentally and physically. We’re all in this together, even if we can’t actually be together. It’s weird to miss the things you never knew you would miss, like getting frustrated walking through a crowded store where everyone is buying something other than toilet paper. The world is a weird place right now, hopefully your home is a sanctuary, and not a madhouse.

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