This year’s holiday celebrations might not be what it used to be during the previous years. It will look different without the traditional family gatherings during Christmas and the jam-packed people in Times Square waiting for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve.
The COVID-19 pandemic has derailed every plan and tradition you probably have. But don’t worry! It is still possible to celebrate and enjoy the holidays despite the current situation.
There are plenty of ways to commemorate Christmas and the New Year with both safety and fun in mind. Get creative in planning your holidays while still following safety protocols to keep your family safe and healthy!
But first, here is the list of individuals who should refrain from attending in-person events during the holidays:
- A sick person regardless of whether he/she experiences COVID-19 symptoms.
- A person currently undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
- An individual who is awaiting their COVID-19 test result.
- Individuals, especially seniors, with underlying medical conditions.
- Children and pregnant women.
Here are some of the most important things to consider during your holiday celebrations:
For Those Hosting Small Gatherings
Celebrating the holidays with your own household members is the safest form of gathering this pandemic. It poses the littlest risk of spreading the virus as individuals already live in the same environment.
But suppose you want to bring together family members of different households this Christmas. In that case, you need to plan carefully for the safety of everyone.
Whether it is a daughter coming home from college or a sister living just outside your city, you still need to take extra precautions when inviting people over. This includes following your city’s safety guidelines, checking the COVID-19 cases in your attendee’s community, and asking if the attendees traveled outside their city before the gathering.
As your family’s organizer, you should also be responsible for ensuring that the event itself will not compromise everyone’s health. Thus, you should make the proper adjustments necessary to make it a safe holiday gathering, like:
- Making it an outdoor gathering to provide proper air ventilation.
- Providing a spacious place so everyone can stay 6 feet apart.
- Keeping the guest list small.
- Mandating everyone to keep their masks on.
- Placing easily accessible hand sanitizer dispensers.
- Disinfect areas commonly touched by guests.
- Avoiding alcoholic drinks so everyone can practice the safety measures needed.
For Travels and Overnight Stays
Traveling presents the most significant risk of acquiring and spreading the virus. So if you can, try spending this year’s holiday inside the comfort of your own home.
But if you are going to risk traveling, you might as well do it safely to get home without the ominous beginnings of a sore throat. Here’s what you need to keep your health in check while traveling.
- Check the traveling restrictions and the COVID-19 cases in your destination.
- Get flu shots before your trip.
- Always wear a mask and practice social distancing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Also, avoid touching commonly touched surfaces in public spaces.
- Bring extra masks, a face shield, and hand sanitizer.
- After going outside your hotel room or accommodation, wash your hands with soap or take a bath.
- Visit places with wide spaces and adequate ventilation.
Once you get home, make sure to quarantine everyone for 14 days just to be safe. Remember, asymptomatic individuals can acquire the virus and not show any signs or symptoms.
Furthermore, it is essential to know when to postpone your holiday traveling when it becomes too risky. For instance, when one of your companions gets sick before your scheduled trip.
For Individuals Attending Social Gatherings
The best way to spend the holidays COVID-free is to stay at home and celebrate it with your household members. But if you cannot avoid social gatherings, opt to attend small ones.
Moreover, be a responsible attendee by doing your part to avoid further spread of the coronavirus disease.
You can do this by practicing proper hygiene, social distancing, and wearing a mask at all times. You should also educate and encourage others to stick with the safety protocols released by the CDC.
Safe Ways to Celebrate the Holidays Amid COVID-19
Christmas and New Year celebrations do not have to be canceled because of the viral outbreak. The holidays are just a little different this year but can still be enjoyable and worthwhile.
Here are some creative ideas to celebrate the holidays safely without going out.
- Organize virtual parties. Who says you can’t celebrate the holidays with a bang this year? In-person gatherings might be risky, but virtual ones are 100% safe and fun! You can host an online Christmas party where everyone can dress up, drink their wine, and eat their food on their own couches. You can all still catch-up with each other’s lives, keep the tradition, and feel the Christmas spirit in the safest way possible.
- Attend an online mass. You can still do your traditional Christmas or New Year’s Eve communion with just a slight modification this year. Religious organizations now offer online services and drive through confessions to accommodate religious activities safely.
- Ship/exchange gifts online. One of the most exciting activities during the holidays is shopping for gifts. Unfortunately, it would be best if you took a raincheck on that for now. But you can still send care packages and Christmas gifts to your loved ones through online shopping! Conveniently browse for gifts in online stores and find the perfect one without hassle. You can pay for it and have it shipped to its destination all in one sitting!
- Safe cookie exchanges. Instead of inviting friends over to bake cookies at home, you can bake treats on your own and drop them off outside your loved one’s home.
- Holiday shows at home. Movie theaters are not a safe place to enjoy your yearly holiday-themed movies. So, to keep the tradition, you can instead stream upcoming films and theater performances online. Theater companies now offer pay-per-view streaming services so families can still watch their favorite shows.