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9 Tips for Enjoying Safe Holiday Celebrations With Mom and Dad

With the holiday season fast approaching, everyone is worried about what COVID-19 could do to family gatherings. Is it safe to get together with Mom and Dad over the holidays, especially if you have members of the family still working with the public? How can you increase your overall safety? Try some of these tips to help keep everyone safe during holiday celebrations. 

1. Consider quarantining, or at least limiting contact, for two weeks before your Christmas celebrations. 

By avoiding unnecessary contact with the public, you can decrease the odds that you will accidentally transmit COVID-19 to aging or vulnerable family members. Do your holiday shopping early (or consider shopping online), have your groceries delivered early, and settle in to enjoy a quiet, intimate celebration with your family for a couple of weeks. This could be a great year to really appreciate the holiday season like never before, with less hustle and bustle than in past years. 

2. Wear your masks. 

If you want to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for everyone involved, consider wearing masks whenever you get together with people not in your immediate household. If your parents aren't part of your usual "COVID bubble," masking up for the celebration can help protect them. The CDC recommends wearing masks any time you are around people outside your household — and that includes holiday celebrations. 

3. Skip the meal.

If you want to celebrate the holidays with vulnerable family members, consider skipping the meal. Many holiday celebrations revolve around food and drink. When eating and drinking, however, family members will pull down their masks and often stand in closer proximity. You may also have multiple family members handling serving utensils, which can increase the risk of transmitting illnesses. To help keep everyone safe during your holiday gathering, consider skipping the meal if you can. 

4. Get together outside. 

Areas with better airflow can help prevent the transmission of viruses. If weather permits, consider getting together with Mom and Dad outdoors. 

5. Have your celebration in someone else's home.

Going home for the holidays may mean that you usually head to your parents' house to enjoy connection with friends and family members. To help keep Mom and Dad safer, however, consider moving the celebrations to another location this year. Your parents can control what they touch in someone else's home easier than you can control everything that everyone, especially children, touches in their home. 

6. Consider taking your holiday celebrations virtual.

If you're really worried about transmitting COVID-19, consider taking your family get-together virtual this year. Exchange gifts via mail or drop them off on family members' doorsteps, then sit around, chat, and open presents together. This is a great way to embark on new traditions and try out something a little different: reading holiday stories together, sharing a holiday movie, or playing games that can easily be played over the internet. Hold a virtual watch party and invite the entire family. Virtual connections are also a great way to include family members who cannot travel to be with everyone else this year, or who might need to stay home due to illness. 

7. Limit close contact.

Space people apart throughout the room, rather than sitting next to each other. You might need to speak a little louder to have a conversation — or add charades to your holiday fun!

8. Wash your hands often.

Keep hand sanitizer out at the gathering. Make sure there is soap in all bathrooms and common areas. Encourage everyone to use both as frequently as possible. 

9. Encourage elderly family members to avoid contact with high-touch surfaces. 

Encourage Mom and Dad to let someone else take care of some of those tasks this year, whether it's cleaning up the kitchen after your meal or handing around presents. 

There are safe ways to celebrate the holidays this year in spite of the risks associated with COVID-19. By planning ahead, you can keep all of your family members as safe as possible while still making the most of the holiday season.

Written by: Yelena Sokolsky