This holiday season, meetings and gatherings will likely be very different than they’ve been in years prior. While people are locked down and social distancing throughout the winter season due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect and have fun with your loved ones. The holiday season is a time to connect and feel closer to the people you care about, whether you do it online or responsibly in person. And even with a pandemic going on, you can still have a safe and fun time this season, no matter what it looks like for your family.
There are all kinds of precautions you can take to make sure you stay safe and healthy this holiday season without compromising all the fun times and beautiful moments that the holidays and family time can bring. When it gets down to the specifics, you may be wondering what the exact protocol is for spending time with your family and loved ones during the holiday season. Here’s a bit about what you can do to stay safe while you have fun.
One of the main things you can do to ensure your health and safety this year during the holidays is simply staying home. Based on the CDC guidelines for holiday travel and safety, it’s not recommended to travel this year. In fact, they say you should hunker down and find alternate solutions to bring in the cheer. Especially if you have a long way to go, it may be best traveled virtually. Setting up Zoom meetings, group phone calls and other alternative gatherings can be a great way to see those beloved faces without risking any spread of the virus.
Not Traveling Far
If you have a few people in your circle that you feel comfortable seeing and you do plan to spend some holiday time in person with them, making sure you’re not traveling far can be a great way to stay safe and healthy. Air travel is not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, traveling long distances in any way could potentially spread the virus, so if you do go somewhere, it’s best to go across town rather than across the country.
If you happen to live in an area with warm weather during the holiday season, a great alternative to cozying up at home is meeting one another outdoors for a much safer and spread out gathering. Being in confined spaces can worsen the potential spread of the virus, but the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors. Obviously, this isn’t a possibility for everyone, as snowfall could certainly dampen the mood of a picnic in the park, if the option is available to you, it’s definitely worth exploring.
Keep Gatherings Small
If you are going to spend time with others this holiday season, it’s smartest to keep gatherings limited to the group of people you’ve already been spending time with. That way, you don’t risk exposing anyone new or exposing yourself from anyone new who may put you at risk. Of course, follow any local guidelines regarding the number of people that can meet at a gathering at once, as those guidelines are in place for a reason. If you do happen to be gathering this holiday season, keeping it small and safe is the best way to go.
Wear Masks if You Meet
If you’re meeting with anyone outside your immediate social circle, wearing a mask when around them — and having them wear a mask, too — can help keep anyone protected from the spread. While it isn’t recommended to attend large gatherings or meet people you don’t know, even with masks, they can offer an extra layer of protection, especially in situations you’re unsure about. When in doubt, always keep a mask handy and nearby.
Maintain Social Distancing
This precaution isn’t exactly news, but it’s still worth mentioning. The holidays can be a time of many hugs, handshakes, cheek kisses and squishing together for group photos. Obviously, none of that is recommended this year. Even if your gathering is small and you know everyone around, maintaining social distancing is the best way to keep everybody safe and healthy. Staying six feet apart as best as you can and avoiding physical touch will be better for everybody this year.
How to Stay Safe and Connect This Season
There are so many ways to safely connect this holiday season. While the pandemic may feel like it has caused a rift, family and friends and the connections you have with them can’t be broken simply by physical space, whether it’s six feet or thousands of miles. Taking the precautions to keep everyone safe this year is for everyone’s protection, and it’ll work towards everyone’s good. Whether you meet on Zoom or have an unconventional Christmas hike outside, it’s the people you spend it with that make it special.