Parlour Games, Latkes, And Other Socially Distanced Fun

"Also: hot chocolate. Very important. Part of the mountain experience."

Ahhhh holidays at The Stern home! For us, Channukah and New Years are the big holidays this time of year. Channukah means unwrapping presents, lighting candles, eating homemade potato latkes *my mom’s recipe (below) we made together via FaceTime this year.* This year holidays are a lot of FaceTiming with my fam back on the east coast, as my husband and I are the only ones in Los Angeles. We have been FaceTiming with our nephews and nieces to watch them light the candles and open presents we’ve sent over. There’s —not yet— a digital game of dreidel, but it’s surprisingly fun to play separate but together via FaceTime. You can put your computer on the floor and take turns as you would in person.

Just like the holidays, my outdoor apparel brand, Matek, was definitely inspired by family activities together. We grew up going to the mountains every winter; it’s great for getting kids energy out and also a unique activity where all ages and levels can enjoy together. I loved showing off what I learned at ski school to my brother’s on the bunny hill and then having them take me up the chairlift to watch them snowboard in the park as I plowed down to the bottom.

Also: hot chocolate. Very important. Part of the mountain experience.

For NYE we will probably do something similar to FaceTime cooking but swapping cookies for my dad’s tradition of making crepes. These are not your classic Parisian crepe….think Nesquick. (See my dad’s recipe below.)

Other than FaceTime-cheffing together, we do plan to try out some of the games listed below. But honestly….nothing reminds me of the holidays like food does. And, for the better, the pandemic has forced me to learn from my family how to be a chef.

Zoom Family Activities:

  • Set-up backgammon as a kind of tournament and have each zoom screen play their game and keep track altogether.

  • Karaoke via Watch2Gether .

  • Make a shared Spotify playlist and have a virtual dance party

  • Have a cocktail making contest with a theme and have everyone present. Our next theme is: your take on a Hot Toddy

Orna’s Latke Recipe


  1. Peal and grate the # of potatoes that is half the number of latkes you want to eat.

  2. Equal parts grated onion and carrot, about half the amount of potatoes.

  3. Safflower oil.

  4. Salt n Pepper.

+ some of my favorite toppings; brisket, apple sauce, smoked salmon, jam.


  1. Mix the potato, carrot and onion together and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. You can lay all three mixed together on a towel and twist it out over the sink. Sprinkle with salt/pepper to your liking.

  2. Start heating up about 1/8” of safflower oil in a pan, once it starts to look glittery but not bubbly plop your potato/carrot/onion mixture in

  3. Pat the plops down so they are all sticking together and flip when the bottom is crispy.

  4. Repeat : )

Geoffrey’s Double Chocolate Crepe Recipe


  1. Complete pancake mix

  2. Eggs

  3. Nestle Quick Hot Cocoa Mix

  4. Baker's 56% Cacao Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar – or comparable


  1. Follow directions on pancake mix but add extra eggs and water so that batter is thinner than directed and appropriate to a crepe.

  2. Add eggs to mix so that thin batter does not fall apart

  3. Use a crepe pan and crepe ladle to pour a single crepe at a time. Put just enough batter so that you can spread the batter thinly over the area of the pan. Use a thin coat of butter to coat the pan.

  4. Adjust the thickness of the batter as needed. If crepes fall apart, add an egg.

  5. Make a pile of crepes and put aside for when you are ready to serve


  1. Follow directions to melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave

  2. Sprinkle Nestle Quick Hot Cocoa mix on inside of crepe and roll crepe into a roll

  3. Pour melted chocolate sauce over crepes and serve

Meet the Family

Abigail Stern is the founder of Matek, an outdoor apparel brand for everyone. All styles can love in your closet 365 days a year. We make layers to keep you warm when your cold and keep you dry when your sweaty—for her him they and kiddos too.