Celebrate the Holidays Safely: From Virtual Holiday Celebrations to Socially Distanced Gatherings
December 15, 2021 | COVID-19 Resources
It’s the season for celebration with family and friends. However, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again and the emergence of the omicron variant, you are probably wondering how you can celebrate the holiday season safely. Whether you’re planning a socially distanced gathering, a virtual celebration with friends and family, or if you’re spending the holidays alone, we have got you covered on alternative ways to make the most out of the holiday season.
Above all, it’s extremely important to find ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to help keep you and your loved ones safe. The best way to protect yourself and your friends and family is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and get a booster if you are eligible. It will not only reduce your risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, but also help to reduce community spread.
Follow CDC Guidelines When Hosting or Attending a Gathering
If you are someone who is hosting a gathering during the holiday season, it’s important to follow CDC guidelines. If you are a guest who will be attending a gathering, make sure to have a conversation with the host about the safety measures they will have in place to make sure you stay protected. Here are some guidelines recommended by the CDC if you plan on being a host this holiday season:
Remind Guests to Stay Home if They Are Sick
This includes any potential guests who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, as well as those who are showing any COVID-19 symptoms or have recently tested positive for the virus. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a list of guests for potential contact tracing needs.
Encourage Social Distancing
If the weather permits, it’s a great opportunity to take your gathering to the outdoors. If you’re unable to do so, make sure that your room is well-ventilated. You can do this easily by opening a window. Arrange the tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. You can also arrange for members of the same household to be grouped together, at least 6 feet apart from other families.
Wear Masks and Wash Your Hands
Make sure to have a face mask on if you’re unable to maintain a 6-foot distance. If you’re a guest, make sure to bring your own. If you’re a host, have some extra disposable masks for your guests. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. Also, make sure to wash your hands before serving or eating any food. Try single-use hand towels and make sure your hand sanitizer and hand soap contain at least 60% alcohol.
Limit Contact with Commonly Touched Surfaces
When serving food, identify one person to serve all the food so multiple people are not handling the serving utensils. If you’re a guest, try not to put your hands on commonly touched surfaces. If you’re a host, make sure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces often.
If you decide to travel this season, follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others. Ask yourself, “Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination?” If so, rethink heading to that destination. Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when using public transportation and in hubs such as airports and train stations. Avoid close contact, wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
How to Make the Most out of Spending the Holidays Alone
If you are someone who is unable to meet in-person with loved ones this holiday season, or if you are spending the holidays alone, you may feel disappointed and saddened. It’s easy to feel as though you can’t celebrate the holidays; but it’s important to take time for yourself to celebrate. You deserve it! Read on for ways to celebrate this holiday season.
Schedule a Virtual Holiday Celebration
Consider hosting a virtual holiday celebration through a video chat software such as Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. The possibilities for conversations and fun are endless! Share a holiday tale with the grandkids or engage the whole family by playing virtual holiday bingo. You can also show your loved ones how to make a special recipe or participate in a virtual gift exchange. Send your gifts by mail in advance and have everyone open their packages together so everyone can see. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Watch a Virtual Performance
This year, the most loved holiday shows and performances can be brought to the comfort of your home. Watch the Tabernacle Choir’s 2-hour retrospective on their holiday performances over the last 20 years, live on PSV TV and PBS.org Monday, December 13th or Friday, December 24th. Pentatonix is also guest-starring in this year’s BYUtv Christmas Special, Christmas Under the Stars. The special will air 4 times this month, so tune in! If neither of those options pique your interest, search online for other live stream performances.
Plan an Outing
If you’re able to do so, travel outside of your home, while following CDC guidelines. One idea is to go on a drive to look at the neighborhood holiday lights while listening to holiday music.
Watch Holiday Movies
Although we may not be able to head to the movie theater to watch newly released holiday movies, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have us covered. For Netflix, try hosting a Teleparty so the whole family can watch together, from wherever! Plus, Hallmark and Lifetime have released their list of holiday movies. You can also check out AARP’s 2021 Holiday Season Movie Preview for holiday entertainment options.
Take the time to focus on you this holiday season! Purchase a gift for yourself while online shopping, bake and indulge in your favorite holiday treat, or light a holiday scented candle. Create an environment for yourself where you can relax and reflect, and truly enjoy the holiday.
Make a Gratitude List
Take the time to give thanks this holiday season by writing out a list of things you are grateful for. Set aside some time to think about topics that bring you joy. Maybe you’re grateful for your health, your family, a personal accomplishment or something else. Take note of it!
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of online volunteering opportunities have opened up that can allow people to give back safely and easily during these challenging times. Learn more about online volunteering opportunities you can get involved with.
We understand that it’s difficult to be separated from friends and family this holiday season. However, it’s important to take the necessary steps to lower both your risk and your loved ones’ risk of contracting COVID-19. If you have any other questions or concerns about COVID-19 and how you can stay safe this holiday season, contact your primary care provider.