Hybrid Holidays 2021
This holiday season, families and friends have options for creative hybrid celebrations that keep loved ones safe and engaged. Hybrid events involve in-person and digital elements, mixing the live and virtual so audiences can participate wherever they are.
Parents, friends, schools and corporations hosted virtual celebrations to celebrate milestones and keep a sense of normalcy. Parents like Alicia Hall of Jackson will be flexible with planning based on lessons learned from simplistic gatherings in 2020.
“In the beginning, like most people, we only did virtual gatherings with our close friends,” said Hall, 39, mom of two children ages 6 and 7. “As time went on and as we learned more about COVID and transmission risks, we looked for ways to maintain relationships. We did outdoor gatherings safely distanced with neighbors and family while the children had virtual school in 2020.”
Zoom and outdoor gatherings best served the Hall family last year, such as live-streamed calls during anniversaries and driveway Trick-or-Treating. “Our family is lucky to have relatives with generous amount of land for being outdoors with children who are not vaccinated,” she said. “For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re staying flexible and it will be a smaller group.”
As simple as hybrid events can be, logistics can still pose challenges. Seeking out assistance of event planners can be worth the extra expense. Throughout 2020 and this year, Elle Mari Events owner Krystal Logan assisted with hybrid weddings, parties and corporate events throughout the Jackson metro area.
Since cutting back on large events in 2020, Logan, 36, of Brandon, said the most popular hybrid events involved virtual engagement and photo booths, drive-by parties and parades that allowed for safe social distancing. Her team helps clients determine the intimacy level, invitation list, and navigate sanitation measures and safety guidelines of local venues. “We hosted socially distanced outdoor events and people started sprucing up their houses and backyards; we even created venues within homes,” Logan said. “I think some venues we were working with still offered services with limited capacity; but on that side, they have to maintain their buildings and revenue to keep their businesses running in accordance with state health guidelines. It was challenging at first, but it all worked out.”
When planning, Logan says it’s best to start early and have a Plan B in case of emergencies. Elle Mari Events helps clients set up creative events with decorations and walk-through visits where guests can take shifts.
“Last year, I did a small gathering for my daughter’s birthday that was a drive-thru parade,” Logan said. “This year, we hosted a paint party complete with a sanitation station, masks were worn, and we checked temperatures (safety measures used at all Elle Mari events). We maintained a minimal attendance at my house, and I even extended the patio area outside my home.”
Above all, Hall approaches hybrid events with empathy and compassion for all. “We love relatives so much, but ensuring values of safety and community was paramount,” Hall said. “This has been hard for kids especially, but we’ve been surprised with how they picked up on the value of community to do things in a way that others are impacted. I hope they take these values into other areas of life as we come out of this pandemic.”
Terricha Phillips loves Jesus and good books, being a mom of two sweet children and home cooking with her husband James. Living in Jackson for 10 years left an indelible impression on her life, because it is where she matured into motherhood.
Hybrid Event Checklist
- Set a budget
- Create a balanced agenda
- Host speakers on-site
- Connect the live and in-person audiences
- Use social media to encourage engagement
- Create a video library
- Analyze the success of the hybrid event