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COVID-19: Enjoy the Holidays Safely

The holiday season is different this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. It's stressful for everyone, adults and children alike. Use these special times to keep "pandemic fatigue" in check by reconnecting safely with family and friends.

Here are some ways to enjoy the holidays while keeping the people you care about safe and happy.

Keep the Celebrations Small or Virtual

The safest option this year is to celebrate the holidays only with members of your own household. To connect with friends and loved ones you can't see in-person, host a virtual dinner. You can chat while eating, play games, "see" each other's holiday decorations, or share recipes.

Some families may do an outdoor dinner with family. This is more of a risk than staying at home. If you opt for that, follow the CDC's advice on hosting gatherings.

Tips for Safe Dining

  • Get together outdoors, if possible.
  • If you must be indoors, open windows to increase ventilation.
  • Everyone 2 years and older should wear a mask except when eating and drinking. 
  • Keep people from different households separated by at least 6 feet. Set up chairs or tables in advance so people know where to safely be.
  • Keep the visit brief. You might consider getting together just for dessert.
  • Have people bring their own food and drinks to limit touching the same surfaces. If you do share food, have one person serve the food (while wearing a mask) so only one person touches the serving spoon. Consider putting the food on plates in advance. Then have people take a plate one at a time keeping physically distant.

Get Creative for Holiday Fun

Even as holiday celebrations change this year, you can still make them fun and memorable for your kids:

  • Make an event of watching sports, parades, and movies from the comfort of your own home. Set up an indoor cozy space with pillows and blankets and snacks. If it's not too cold, enjoy the entertainment from your yard.
  • Host a Secret Santa event with your family and friends virtually and open gifts together.
  • Make gifts! Get crafty and have kids write letters to each other and loved ones, create coupon books, and more. They can make their own wrapping paper. Older children and teens can have fun with tie-dye, inviting friends to virtually create with them.
  • Travel to an imaginary vacation spot in your home. Come up with theme rooms, special foods, and fun activities that you would traditionally do at your favorite vacation spot.
  • Work together on your holiday greetings. Whether you buy cards or make your own, kids will enjoy being involved and getting them ready to mail.
  • Make a holiday greeting video and involve kids in the creative process, from writing a script, to filming, to emailing.
  • Play games. Teach your kids the board games you played when you were a kid or have a virtual game night with friends or your family.
  • Decorate. It can brighten spirits, giving your whole family a change of space.
  • Spread kindness to your community. Kids can make signs with messages for neighbors that you can hang in the windows or post in your yard.
  • Make a game of going through your house to find items to donate — clothes, food, and household goods that you don't use that are in good condition.
  • Take a tour of your neighborhood to see the holiday lights.
  • Read holiday books together with the whole family.

Safety Steps to Take

To help prevent the spread of germs that cause colds, the flu, and COVID-19, everyone in your family should:

  • Wash hands well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid people who appear sick.
  • Clean surfaces that get touched a lot (like doorknobs, counters, phones, etc.).
  • Avoid large crowds and busy places. When possible, shop online rather than in stores.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from people they don't live with.
  • Wear a mask when in public (all adults and kids over 2 years old).
  • Try not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Family members 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. If you or your kids haven't gotten one yet for this flu season, it's not too late.

Reviewed by: Salwa E. Sulieman, DO
Date Reviewed: 16-11-2020

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