Written By: Eleanor Pratt
As 2020 comes to an end, the holiday season will be here in no time. However, things will have to be different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yearly traditions may have to be modified and adjusted and some may be completely impossible. Experts have conceded that it is still possible to celebrate the holidays if one is flexible and takes the necessary precautions.
Recently, Dr. Antony Fauci told Yahoo news “I think we need to realize things might be different this year, particularly if you want to have people who are going to be flying in from a place that has a lot of infection.” Dr Mark Jarrett, the chief quality officer for New York’s Northwell Health, echoed this sentiment when he spoke to Healthline saying “Family gatherings this year may put our loved ones at risk, especially the most vulnerable, such as grandparents. Better to miss one in-person holiday, so all can celebrate together next year.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together an incredibly useful list of tips and guides for how to safely celebrate this year. For example, when hosting a gathering for the holidays, it is best to do it outdoors. If you cannot be completely outside due to cold weather or some other factor try to increase ventilation by opening windows and doors. Hosting 20 people for Thanksgiving is just not a good idea in 2020 and it is important to keep the guest list to a minimum.
The CDC also has tips for those just attending holiday gatherings. Make sure your host is taking all necessary precautions to prevent any spread of the virus and bring extra supplies with you just in case– such as extra masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
It is also important for guests during the celebrations to continue to social distance, especially if many people came from out of town and have not been in quarantine. Wash your hands as much as possible and regularly disinfect areas that are constantly being touched. Try to spend as much time at home and avoid going to overly crowded places like malls or restaurants. Shopping online is definitely a must this year.
While these precautions may seem like they take the fun out of the season and may even make things more stressful, the holidays can still be enjoyable. Activities such as going out to a local farm to pick apples or a Christmas tree are fun and low risk activities because they are outside. Hosting gatherings of local friends and family for dinner is also a much better idea rather than going to crowded restaurants. Decorating your home with your family and getting in the spirit with some festive music are also good ways to celebrate safely.
Although this holiday season is going to feel much different than past celebrations, it is important to keep in mind that if proper precautions are followed, next year can be back to normal and hopefully much less stressed.