The holidays can feel like one of the safest, most cherished parts of our lives during difficult times. The restrictions set in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have left many feeling like there’s no single facet of life that the virus hasn’t managed to alter, holidays included. It can be tempting to push aside worries and pursue the season with increased enthusiasm this year, but you don’t have to choose between health and merriment. Instead, follow these five tips to protect you and your loved ones while partaking in all your usual holiday traditions. You can create new traditions for holidays during the pandemic.
Free Up Extra Money to Splurge on Gifts
Many people won’t be traveling home for the holidays in 2020, but that doesn’t mean you can’t send them something meaningful. Online shopping is going to be more popular than ever now, and you can get ahead of the crowds by placing orders to get shipped directly to your loved one’s home. There are many new financing plans in place through major retailers as well. Companies like AfterPay and Klarna allow you to pay for purchases in installments rather than being charged upfront. Another way to rethink your holiday spending budget is to take a look at your debt and any possible negotiations you can make. Refinancing student loans through a private lender can free up extra money for the holidays with more manageable payments going forward. Mortgage rates continue to stay at historic lows, and if you plan on remaining in your home, it may be time to take advantage of reducing your interest rate.
Make sure that you remind loved ones to thoroughly clean anything they receive through the mail. Even though the coronavirus is primarily contracted through face-to-face contact, experts recommend taking extreme precautions. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to disinfect things with the right cleaning products. You can also decide to go entirely virtual with digital gift cards instead. It may not have the touch of a handmade gift, but people can use the money you extend to buy things they may really need during this time of year.
Travel Ahead of the Holidays
You should quarantine separately from any loved ones for two weeks after you reach your destination. You may stay in a guest house, an Airbnb, or hotel, but make sure you plan to leave at least 14 days before you want to meet up with loved ones. Get a COVID test before leaving, and everyone should be tested before seeing each other face-to-face. It’s also important to note that a negative test does not mean you should forgo protection. Everyone should still wear a mask, except when eating or drinking, and maintain at least 6 feet of distance between one another, even when they’re outside.
Let One Person Do All the Cooking
Friendsgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays that typically involve potluck-style dinners will need to change for everyone’s well-being this year. Although you may feel guilty, allowing one person to handle all the prep, you can lighten the burden by offering to pay for groceries. During the meal itself, you should only use disposable dinnerware and cutlery, which cuts down on bacteria and any potential infections that could linger on plates after eating.
Elect one individual, who is wearing a mask, serving all the food. You can pay them back with gratitude and offering to help do the dishes later. It’s important that everyone respects these restrictions, however strange and inconvenient they may initially feel. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to adapt to the changes when you know it’s for a good cause. These simple adjustments can protect everyone immediately present as well as their loved ones back home.
Attend Holiday Services Virtually
Most churches will offer their services online this year, but if yours doesn’t, consider attending another one online. The risk of contracting COVID is especially high in contained indoor spaces, especially if there are people unmasked singing hymns or speaking loudly to a large audience. You may even decide to offer tips to your congregation for an online holiday service that can still be memorable and enjoyable for everyone who attends.
In lieu of other get-togethers, consider hosting a remote Christmas movie marathon using a stream sharing app like Zoom or Netflix Party. This will allow everyone to see one another physically without having to risk exposure. You can also open gifts on Christmas morning with loved ones from afar; it may not be the same as being in the same place, but there’s an added peace of mind knowing that protective distance is the most valuable gift you can give others this year.
Make Cleaning Easy and Accessible
Anyone entering and exiting the home should immediately disinfect using the CDC handwashing guidelines. Hand sanitizing bottles should also be stationed throughout the home to ensure everyone is routinely eliminating germs. Disinfecting wipes should also be placed in the bathroom for people to disinfect the toilet flusher after each use. You may also ask loved ones to wear disposable gloves and shoe covers when entering the home. Taking off shoes is just as effective, but if you’re gathering outside and people need to go indoors to use the bathroom, putting on a pair of covers might be more convenient.
Following these five tips for the holidays during the pandemic will help keep you and your family safe and have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
Featured Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels