The 2021 holidays might be somewhat safer than 2020, but precautions still need to be taken to ensure that your family is Covid safe during the holidays.
Here are some helpful tips going into this week of holiday gatherings.
DON’T: Use One Long Table
DO: Use a Lot of Small Tables Instead
Think of this holiday season like a wedding, try to separate immediate families at the same table to lower the risk of potential spread. If you want to take safety up a notch, maybe create a table just for the older members of your family and those who are at a higher risk of Covid-19, that way they don’t have to worry about sitting next to someone who has spent the last few weeks differently than they have.
As always, ventilation is key when it comes to a Covid safe holiday. Experts recommend having celebrations outside, whenever possible. But if winter weather is standing in your way, opening windows and doors will provide good air flow. Dr. Michael Mina, a former epidemiologist at Harvard who now works for a company verifying at-home Covid tests, recommends buying an air purifier for gatherings during the holidays.
DON’T: Set Up a Buffet
DO: Create Individual Plates
Buffets can lead to the sharing of unwanted germs. Instead, we recommend having family style plates on the individual tables. Not having a buffet also eliminates crowding and allows guests to stay six feet apart.
If you have a large family and are worried that you won’t have enough food, suggest that each family table brings its own side dishes. This potluck style dinner allows for families to pick the foods that they like best.
Or, if no one wants to cook, and who can blame them, have each table bring its favorite takeout to the holiday dinner. This allows your family to support small businesses that have been struggling during the pandemic.
Kiersten Rooney, an event planner with LB Events and Designs suggests pre-portioned appetizers and pre-poured cocktails to make your party extra Covid safe. She said, “A small cutting board that doubles as a party favor, along with individual servings of cheeses, meats, and accoutrements, can be prepped in advance and pre-set at each setting.”
DON’T: Hang Mistletoe
D0: Blow a Kiss
Have your guests blow kisses to each other instead of kissing under the mistletoe. This Christmas tradition is definitely not Covid safe and might make people uncomfortable.
Katelyn K. Jetelina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, said that this holiday season needs to be all about taking the right precautions to reduce the risk of Covid. Everyone has his or her own comfort level, and it needs to be respected.
If you want to create a lighter mood, have bowls of chocolate kisses that guests can exchange when they “share a kiss.” This adds a little fun back into your holiday season and the individually wrapped kisses are perfect for Covid safety.
DON’T: Crowd Together on the Couch
DO: Set Up Multiple Seating Areas
Multiple seating areas allow for guests to talk and mingle with ease. If you want to be extra Covid safe, designate certain areas of your house as mask-free and mask-required. That way your family members who want to wear masks won’t feel so uncomfortable.
You could also set up fun crafts or activities for each seating area. It allows your guests to have some fun and feel like a kid again. Maybe one seating area can have a Christmas movie for family members to watch, another can have coloring sheets for the kids and those who are young at heart.
This year’s holidays might be confusing for young kids, so spreading out the seating will allow them to keep busy. Give your little ones a scavenger hunt or fun Christmas questions to ask different members of the family. That will allow them to experience the magic of the holiday season without getting into a crowd. Wherever possible, try to mask young children who are not yet vaccinated. Those masks allow an added layer of protection.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday!