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Celebrating the Holidays During COVID

Celebrating the Holidays During COVID

Holiday season is nearly upon us, and this year we may be tempted to relax social distancing guidelines and return to celebrating the holidays as we have in the past. They are, after all, often a very emotional and celebratory time. However, public health experts strongly recommend that we modify our traditions to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Here are some tips about holiday celebrations that will give you options:

Lower risk activities

  • Have a small dinner or celebration with only people who live in your household
  • Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them following no-contact guidelines
  • Have a virtual dinner or celebration and share recipes with friends and family
  • Use online shopping services instead of going to the grocery store
  • Watch holiday events, parades, and movies from home

Moderate risk activities

  • Have a small outdoor dinner or celebration with family and friends who live in your community
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html#gatherings
  • Visit outdoor holiday events where people use hand sanitizer before touching items, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attend a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Higher risk activities

  • Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
  • Shopping in crowded stores, especially around Thanksgiving
  • Participating in sports or being a spectator at a crowded event
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household

One of the big things to avoid this year is travel. “Since travel increases the chance of coronavirus transmission, staying at home is the best way to prevent the spread,” the CDC says. So if you usually celebrate with out-of-state family, consider seeing them for the holidays virtually.

Here’s an idea of what a holiday may look like:

  • Prepare a festive or fun dinner for those in your household including a virtual cocktail hour other family and friends from afar
  • Take photos of your immediate family enjoying the holidays and exchange them with relatives.
  • Record the opening of presents or do it live via Zoom. That way, folks far away get to join in the excitement.
  • You can do the same if your family likes to sing together.
  • If you are a baker, consider baking favorite holiday cookies ahead of time and mailing them to all your relatives so you can enjoy them together.
  • If your family lives in the area, and you absolutely have to be together for the holidays, here’s an idea to consider (we recommend this only if you have adequate outdoor space):
  • Rent heat lamps and a large canopy and set up an outdoor living room.
  • Have guests sanitize their hands upon arrival.
  • Make sure everyone can sit socially distanced and wears masks while not eating or drinking.
  • Create a dinner that can be enjoyed from an armchair rather than having to sit at a table, which might bring people into closer proximity.
  • After dinner, play a game that allows or promotes social distancing, such as charades.
  • Decorate your area with your favorite holiday decorations.
  • And finally, think of a path to your designated “guest” bathroom that allows for minimal intrusion into your home. Sanitize it well before and after the event.

We want you and your family to celebrate the holidays together for years to come. Help prevent COVID-19 by following guidelines to reduce the spread. We hope the season is a wonderful one for everyone.