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Five things to do while stuck at home for the holidays

We all look forward to the holidays. We plan for it weeks in advance, ask cousins who’ll they bring to the gathering, and look forward to hearing about an aunt or uncle’s latest antics. People with IBS-D usually plan ahead of time by asking what’s on the menu or offering to bring something everyone can eat.

Then COVID-19 happened and suddenly we found ourselves disconnected from family. With the number of cases continuing to rise, people are being told to stay at home and away from family gatherings. But avoiding getting together doesn’t mean not connecting in another way. The editors of IBS Life have come up with some suggestions to make this year’s holiday less painful.

Host a Jackbox Game

Jackbox Games is like charades on steroids. The makers of Jackbox Games are known for the game, “You Don’t Know Jack,” which has spread across the U.S. Every year, they group together a collection of games known as a “Party Pack.” Each game can be played by multiple players virtually.

One of the games the IBS Life editors has played was called “Drawful.” Players must draw an image — without using an eraser — after they are given a prompt. Once the player submits their artwork, the others must guess what the prompt was. The goal is to trick other players, to get points! This game will definitely produce a bunch of laughs.

Jackbox Games can run on desktop PCs and laptops, gaming consoles like Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and even streaming devices like Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV. Be forewarned, Jackbox Party Pack games can only be found online and in a platform called Steam, which is free. But it’s well worth the time to download and play. It can entertain people of any age for hours. To learn more, visit

Hold a Zoom Scavenger Hunt

Video chatting app Zoom has announced the company will suspend its time limit to users who don’t have a subscription. Most people who use this video platform for free tend to get cut off at the 40-minute mark, frustrating those who are often talking with family members. The free offer ends the morning of January 2.

If you plan to take advantage of the free Zoom experience for the substitute family gathering, make it interesting by hosting a virtual scavenger hunt. Each team comes up with a list of common — or not so common — items found at home. One team member shares the list to people on Zoom while the rest scramble to find the items within the time limit! It’s a great way to “show and tell” items like their ugly Christmas sweater, favorite holiday movie, or the ornament first made in kindergarten! Each participant must share a memory on the item.

Compete in the Tackiest Holiday Challenge

We all have our holiday traditions. Some people don their Christmas socks each year. A few others are inclined to take out mean Mr. Grinch decorations from Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Then there are folks who’ll inflate a giant Santa on the lawn or light up the block with enough Christmas lights to power a town.

People can come up with some really creative ways to express their love for the holidays. This year, challenge friends or family members to show their “tackiest” holiday décor. Have other family members vote on the décor from 1-5 (with 5 being the “tackiest”) and explain why they think it deserves the score. The award? A lot of laughs and fun memories to talk about for next year.

Decorate Cookies

Take it from us, kids love to draw, paint, and color. Here’s a great way to involve young children while creating new holiday memories. This activity might just help them forget about the pandemic.

Have family members gather several types of food decorations, like, sprinkles, colorful crystal sugars, edible stars, or candy confetti. Other foods can also be used as decorations, such as M&M chocolates, Hershey kisses, gummy bears, or tiny pretzels. Mix some icing into 3-4 different colors (see the recipe in Decorating Holiday Cookies with Ease) and get ready to watch the kids have fun!

Holiday Story PPT

Every culture has a unique way to celebrate the holidays. Kids who celebrate Hannukah remember playing dreidel games with chocolate “gelts” (ie, coins). Those who grew up in Filipino households may remember making colorful “parols” that hang in the window. Families who recognize Kwanza quiz children on the seven candles. Today, more blended families say they either are not very familiar or only somewhat familiar with holiday symbols that represent their diverse culture.

A great way to remind children about their family history is to pull together a brief PPT and share the slides with family and friends through video chat. Make the presentation into a game or a trip down memory lane to make the event memorable.


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