This year has been one of incredible uncertainty and change thanks to the global pandemic, and the 2020 holidays are no exception. If you plan to celebrate Christmas this year, be sure to check out the CDC’s Christmas recommendations. Also explore some tips for a safe holiday season no matter how or with whom you celebrate.
What are the CDC guidelines on holiday celebrations?
the CDC Christmas Recommendations They are designed to keep families safe while celebrating Happy Holidays this year. So is Christmas allowed? Well, the federal government hasn’t banned small gatherings, although your individual state may have its own restrictions. Instead, the CDC recommends looking at your community’s COVID-19 infection rates to determine the risk involved with a group meeting.
The CDC recommends meetings outdoors rather than indoors. Also try to limit direct contact with people who don’t live in the same household as you, so don’t hug if you can help it. If you plan to host a gathering indoors, increase ventilation by opening the windows or keeping your HVAC in circulation mode. Social distancing guidelines must be observed, whether you are indoors or outdoors. The same goes for wearing masks, which should be worn whenever you are not eating or drinking.
10 Ways to Have a Safe Holiday Celebration During COVID-19
Tip 1: make it a BYO celebration
The CDC cautions against potluck and potluck. If you are hosting a group gathering, encourage each household to bring its own picnic-style food and drink to avoid touching the food of others. This also makes it easier for the host to manage any food allergies or intolerances.
Tip 2: Bring the Christmas Log
An outdoor gathering in December can be chilly depending on where you live. Get cozy outside around a campfire and add a Yule log for a new festive element. This European tradition consists of decorating a special piece of wood to place over the fire. Gather natural items like pine needles, dried berries, and cinnamon sticks to wrap the trunk in natural rope to create new memories with family or friends outdoors while keeping warm.
Tip 3: submit your cookie exchange
Instead of conducting a cookie exchange in person during the 2020 holidays, consider sending cookies to your regular guests. You can then meet virtually and unwrap a variety of packages. Be sure to choose recipes that keep well in the mail. Also get creative when wrapping and packaging for a truly festive delivery to your friends.
Tip 4: make hand sanitizer fun
The CDC’s Christmas recommendations include frequent hand washing or sanitizing. Make this extra precaution part of the celebration by including miniature bottles of hand sanitizer as a gift for guests. Get bonus points for choosing seasonal scents, like mint or cinnamon.
Tip 5: keep your celebrations for local guests
According to the CDC, there is a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 if you adhere to people who live in your community. Even if your family lives out of town, you can create a new family among your neighbors and remain within a moderate level of risk.
Tip 6: Host a Christmas Car Parade
For a truly socially distanced event, consider a car decorating contest. Participants can do their best with tacky decorations and then drive slowly through the neighborhood. This is also a great option for meeting friends outside of your immediate area, such as acquaintances from school or church.
Tip 7: add a donation item to your meeting
It is no secret that the pandemic has caused unprecedented economic hardship for families across the country. If you organize a meeting, remember that it is the season to give. Instead of a hostess gift, ask guests to bring a donation to a local food pantry or other organization in need. Set up a mailbox so people can simply drop in for a completely contactless way to help those in need.
Tip 8: host an outdoor movie night
It may not be safe to have friends and family stacked in your living room for a Christmas movie marathon this year. But everyone can bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy an outdoor movie together. This is a great time of year for younger children to enjoy the event as well, as it gets dark well before the summer months.
Tip 9: try other socially distant activities
Whether you’re hosting a gathering indoors or outdoors, the CDC recommends keeping a six-foot distance between anyone not at home, in addition to wearing masks. Get creative with your party activities to keep space between your guests. Try charades, trivia games, or bingo. You can also set up a festive photo booth, which is a great way to use masks.
Tip 10: Host a 2020 Trim Contest
Encourage your friends and family to create their own version of a 2020 Christmas ornament. Whether it’s a masked Santa Claus or the year burning in a fireplace, this creative exercise can be done virtually or socially. Participants can vote for their favorite to enjoy a truly unprecedented year.
If you are quarantined or unable to travel, here is how to celebrate Christmas without family:
Tip 1: send regular mail
It is not easy to miss family on vacation. But sending snail mail, whether it’s gift packages or just handwritten letters, provides a cathartic, tactile experience for both you and the recipient. It will stretch your creative muscles and also provide an uplifting moment for other people you know who will be spending Christmas alone this year.
Tip 2: try new recipes
Just because you’re celebrating alone doesn’t mean you can’t indulge yourself. Challenge yourself to try a new recipe or two that you normally wouldn’t take the time to prepare. Think outside the box with a classic dish like British mince pies or go for a sweet option with an over the top gingerbread house.
Tip 3: get outside
While you may not be able to celebrate in a group setting, make a conscious effort to get outside. The sun is proven to help improve moodespecially in the cold winter months. Take regular walks and find ways to connect with nature and even other people at a distance.
Tip 4: don’t give up on decorations
You may not feel like doing your best for holiday decorations if you are alone this year. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create any kind of festive atmosphere at home. Pick an area where you spend most of your time, like the living room or kitchen. Then select a few key items to incorporate, such as a small tree, a wreath, or a centerpiece. With just a minimum of effort, you can still feel the Christmas spirit without going to great lengths to set up or remove your decorations.
The bottom line
Most Americans will likely face a different kind of Christmas this year. But by following the CDC guidelines and getting creative, you can enjoy the spirit of the season without sacrificing the long-term health of your friends, family, and community health workers.
Is it safe to celebrate Christmas during COVID-19?
The meeting with the lowest risk type involves immediate family members who are taking the same precautions as you. If you want to organize a big Christmas gathering with friends and family, you will need to modify the setting. Organize it outdoors, keep a social distance of six feet, have a hand sanitizer ready, and encourage everyone to wear an N95 mask.
How do I know if I have recently had COVID-19?
Get tested. The symptoms cannot be trusted, as many people are asymptomatic. The surest way to know is to get tested, but also to understand that accuracy is not guaranteed.
How long after exposure do you develop COVID-19 symptoms?
Within 14 days. There have been many cases of people with no symptoms for a full two weeks before showing any signs of COVID-19.
Can I transmit COVID-19 if I don’t have symptoms?
Yes, you can spread COVID-19 to other people even if it doesn’t feel bad.
Lauren Ward is a full-time personal finance writer living in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and three children. When he’s not writing about money and real estate, he likes board games and gardening.