Virtual parties: A woman watches a concert on her laptop

You pick up the phone and FaceTime your mom, then hang up and do the same with your grandmother. You toast your former college roommates with your respective glasses of wine over Zoom. And in between the multiple group texts that vehemently picked up over the past few days, you send a free, online yoga video to your coworkers over Slack.

Social distancing may try to keep us apart, but the internet offers new ways to come together. Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, the emergence of the “virtual party” allows people the freedom to come together from the comfort of their own, respective living rooms. From online cocktail parties to cook-offs to “group” fitness classes, people’s Google calendars are filling up with virtual events.

And we are here for it.

As a 100% digital platform, we love using online technology to bringing people together. We wholeheartedly believe these virtual parties can keep us connected — even while keeping us (a safe distance) apart.

Virtual Parties Are Healthy — And Necessary

As the coronavirus forces most of us to stay home, finding ways to virtually connect isn’t just imperative to our physical health — it improves our emotional and mental wellbeing in ways we might not realize.

Lori Gottlieb, author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” and the writer behind the “Dear Therapist” column for The Atlantic explains that when confined to our homes, “we have an opportunity to embrace the ordinary — to play board games, cook meals, watch entire TV seasons, read books … and catch up with people.”

Gottlieb argues these “ordinary activities” come at a time when we need connection the most. Even while we’re not going to work or the gym, we can have real connections through Facebook parties, social media, Skype, and FaceTime.

Loneliness and self-isolation are true health concerns. As AARP recently advised, “It’s important to talk to family and friends to develop a plan to safely stay in regular touch.” Fortunately, in 2020 we have the power to do so. Even with bars, restaurants, and events shutting down, we have the power to come together through online home parties, creating feelings of intimacy and connection in the 21st century.

5 Virtual Party Ideas to Spark Human Connection (Over Digital Platforms)

We are fortunate to live in an era where we can create valuable human connections, even when we’re not physically together. Here are five different ways you can stay emotionally close with friends, neighbors, best friends, and colleagues within a virtual environment.

1. Host a Virtual Dinner Party

Virtual parties: A digital dinner party invitation

Design: Jacki Crawford

Baking and cooking are wonderful indoor activities. While you might not be dining out much, you can fine-tune your “Top Chef” skills within the next few weeks.

Lauren Joseph, a writer for Epicurious, decided the COVID-19 outbreak wasn’t going to stop her from serving as a party host. As someone who hosts a monthly, in-person book club, she’s used to preparing snacks and appetizers for friends.

Inspired by a Barcelona-based friend who threw an online tapas party, Joseph decided to invite friends, family members, and book club goers to her own online dinner party. At the suggestion of a colleague, she plans to have each person share what they’re eating, swap jokes, and provide opening remarks.

2. Host a Virtual Playdate

Virtual party: a digital art party invitation

Design: PrettyMeJoy

Parents have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus. They’re having to balance work and home schedules with closed childcare. While many parents joke they’ve completely eliminated screen time rules, we say, “Why not lean into it?”

Rather than endure the 37th consecutive showing of “Frozen II,” set up a virtual playdate with neighborhood children. As Maryanne Bombaugh, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society told the Boston Herald, “You can have playdates via FaceTime and Zoom. We fortunately have this technology to maintain these connections during a time when children can’t be together.”

Gather your toddler- and elementary-school-aged attendees for a children’s party, create a group hangout, and let the kiddos catch up (while you, hopefully, squeeze some work in).

3. Attend an Online Fitness Class

Virtual party: a digital "game time" invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

With gyms forced to close across the United States, the entire fitness industry is taking their business online. Personal trainers, instructors, and fitness studios are setting up donation-based or free products on Instagram and Facebook Live. All classes are modeled to use minimal equipment and space, allowing you the freedom to get a good sweat in — from the comfort of your living room.

The Washingtonian, an independent newspaper in the nation’s capital, created a round-up of free Facebook Live events and other free workouts. At the time of this writing, the list has grown to nearly 40 free fitness classes, and gyms are “flexing” their creativity. Cut Seven, an HIIT (high intensity interval training) studio in D.C. posted all their workouts for free on Google Drive, using at-home “equipment” such as wine bottles, couch cushions, and backpacks full of grad school textbooks.

4. Throw an Online Dance Party

Virtual party: a digital dance party invitation

Design: Lisa McLean Design

With so many events cancelled, musicians are taking their talents online. In fact, if your home is feeling ever-so-quiet during the coronavirus, know that NPR is piecing together a list of live concerts you can virtually attend.

Even if you’re not a musician, you can still hold Instagram and FB events like live dance parties. People refuse to stop partying in Toronto where clubs and nightclubs have shut down. One of the hottest virtual dance scenes is Club Quarantine where the party starts at 9 p.m. every night of the quarantine. This online, queer dance party is held on Zoom and goes until midnight, every night.

5. Gather Colleagues Together for an Online Experience

Virtual party: a digital happy hour invitation

Design: Owl and Toad

With companies around the globe telling employees to work from home (and physical events, industry conferences, and trade shows cancelled for the time being), people are looking to connect professionally through online events.

Colleagues can connect with clients and coworkers in real-time over Zoom, Skype, Slack, or other tools. As written in Wired, many companies are shifting their marketing strategy to include webcasts, webinars, and virtual presenters to replace in-person events such as SXSW, Google Cloud Next, and MVP Summit.

In fact, many event organizers believe virtual conferences may be the future, allowing companies to connect with a global audience — rather than only those who can attend a physical event. Plus, virtual conferences are a cost-effective solution for event organizers and attendees alike.

There Are Unlimited Virtual Events to Connect Digitally

At Greenvelope, we love bringing people together. And we believe nothing — not even a global pandemic — can keep us apart.

Use this time to call your college friends, reconnect with people from high school, and FaceTime each of your grandparents. Attend free webinars, fitness classes, and cooking classes. Learn new skills, forge new connections, and reconnect with loved ones you haven’t spoken to in years. There are a number of possibilities to throw a virtual party — you just need a little creativity to think of one to host.

However you decide to host your digital get together, we are here to design your digital invitation. At Greenvelope, we have hundreds of beautiful online invitations that can be easily customized. Use the search bar to find designs related to your event, customize the text, photos, or color palette, then upload your guests’ email addresses to Greenvelope. We’ll send out your invitation in minutes, allowing you to connect with friends and family.

And if you happen to be throwing an online dance party, would ya mind inviting us?