Mighty Blog

Tips to celebrate the holidays safely during COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused everything to be a little (or a lot) different in 2020. We had to shelter in place, social isolate, keep our distance from friends and family, stay home from work and school – the list could go on!

We’re nearing the end of the year which means the holidays are coming up and people are wondering – how can I celebrate the holidays safely this year?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.”

Governor Tim Walz held a press conference on Nov. 10, 2020, to discuss new COVID-19 safety measures he’s taking for the state of Minnesota – you can find the new guidelines on the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) website.

Family spending Thanksgiving apart due to COVID-19.

What types of celebrations are recommended?

Here are ways you can lower your risk of COVID-19 when planning or attending a gathering.

How to lower your risk of COVID-19

How can I stay safe if I attend a holiday gathering?

If you do choose to host or attend a holiday gathering, the CDC has many recommendations for you on how to stay safe.

Indoor vs. outdoor spaces

We know in Minnesota it may be hard to celebrate the holidays outside so, if you do choose to attend a holiday gathering inside, make sure there isn’t a large group of people gathering in a small, poorly ventilated space. Gathering outdoors is possible! Think: A brief gathering with plenty of layers, soup, bonfires, sledding or skating!

Keep your distance

It’s recommended you stay a safe, 6 feet of distance away from others who are not in your ‘bubble’ or ‘pod’ – even if they are your extended family members. We know this can seem hard, but ultimately, it is safest.

Bring masks and hand sanitizer

Make sure you and your family members wear your masks! Always bring extra masks in case someone loses theirs, theirs gets wet or they simply need a new one. Bring hand sanitizer and use it often.

Food and drinks

Avoid any self-serve food and drinks. Hosts should pre-plate individual servings before the event takes place or have strict rules in place where people can’t congregate around food/drink tables. Always enforce the 6-feet of distance rule, even when it’s lunch or dinner time!

Set yourself up for safety

While these are great ways to plan, planning can only take you so far. Safety-in-action is what we especially need to practice!

We have seen good intentions go awry after a few adult beverages. All of a sudden, we’re all hugging rather than keeping our distance in masks. Also, many parents recognize that best laid plans can unfold in the hands of young children. It may be very difficult for kids to understand why they can’t hug grandparents like they usually do at the holiday gathering.

Set yourself up for safety and success with your holiday plans!

Other ways to celebrate the holidays

For a year unlike any other, consider holiday planning in a different way. The traditional gathering with extended family indoors may very well increase risk for everyone in attendance. Perhaps this is a year you try a new idea, like one of these!

  • Plan a progressive dinner, take turns visiting different homes in small groups to allow adequate ventilation.
  • Do your family cookie exchange outside.
  • Try doing Secret Santa through the mail.

The holidays are a time for tradition, and while breaking from tradition is heartbreaking on one hand, trying something completely different might be just the thing we need. Who knows, a new tradition might be born.

You can find information for general considerations for fall and winter holidays on the CDC website.

Alexandra Rothstein