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COVID-19 And Christmas: How To Celebrate The Season Of Joy Safely And Responsibly

The festival of joy is here, but this year, it is amidst the coronavirus pandemic, causing celebrations and merriment to be limited and 'controlled.' The travel restrictions and the sudden surge of the mutated coronavirus strain have put a pause of the festivities, as of course there is a critical need to continue following the COVID-19 guidelines set by the authorities.

While being alone or away from your friends and family during the holidays can be heartbreaking, it does not mean that you must skip on Christmas and the all the joy it brings (the cakes, wine, lights, and the hot chocolate).

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COVID-19 And Christmas: Celebrating The Holidays In The Pandemic Era

It is important to remember that many countries around the world, such as New Zealand and Australia have eased the restrictions during the holiday months, the situation in India is far from over. As the cases continue to rise, it is important to conduct this year's celebrations in a Covid-safe way [1][2].

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While Christmas will certainly look different this year, it does not mean that you must shun the holidays and its festivities but do so in a manner that is safe and risk-free. The key to safe and healthy Covid Christmas plans is to keep them as intimate as possible, says the CDC.

Here are some pointers for you to consider, for safe and healthy holidays:

• The fewer people you invite, the less risk you pose for your guests and yourself.
• If you are feeling unwell, stay at home and cancel your plans (no dinner is important than your health).
• Plan for an outdoor gathering as the risk of transmission is significantly lower outdoors [3].
• If you are hosting a dinner at your place, serve the food and spend time in your biggest room and keep your windows and doors open to increase ventilation [4].
• Instead of family-style, buffet-style, and potlucks have one person handle and serve food for each meal.
• Stock up on hand sanitisers and soap and keep hand sanitisers around the house.
• Encourage your guests to perform frequent hand hygiene.
• Avoid close contact, such as hugging to reduce the risk of transmission [5].
• Avoid sharing your plate of food with someone; buffets are a big no-no.
• If you are having a small gathering, ask your guests to bring their own food.
• Avoid travelling and minimise the distance you travel. If you are travelling, Covid test before travelling so you can be sure you will not be putting anyone at risk of getting sick.
• If your job or family situation allows, consider quarantining before your trip and avoid contact with people outside of your household for two weeks before you are travelling.
• Avoid going to a pub, restaurant, café, or entertainment venue to celebrate the holidays.
• Set up a virtual Christmas dinner with family and friends.
• Watch your favourite Christmas movies through watch parties, or choose a game you can play online together, like charades or team trivia.

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In addition to following the above-mentioned steps, make sure you are well-stocked with the following items as well:

• Hand sanitisers
• Paper towels
Face masks
• Disposable and degradable tableware (if you are having guests over).

On A Final Note...

These are worrying and uncertain times and the Covid-19 pandemic has indeed put a pause to life around the globe. It is critical that you look after both your physical and mental health; follow the social guidelines, practise hygiene and stay safe.

Story first published: Friday, December 25, 2020, 20:23 [IST]
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