As the United States enters the tenth month in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the holiday season will look different this year.
Within the past month, coronavirus cases have risen. November 3rd, 2020, marked a record high of 100,667 COVID-19 hospitalizations. As of the beginning of December, the U.S. has had 14,736,470 reported cases of COVID-19 and 285,280 deaths.
After Thanksgiving, there have been reported spikes of coronavirus cases, most likely caused by college students going home and families gathering, as usual. With Thanksgiving in the past, the temperatures will continue to drop, and the opportunities to gather outside will soon be even more limited for many states. Now, looking forward to Hanukkah, Christmas, and the new year, extra safety precautions must be taken to ensure others' safety. At the same time, the nation patiently waits for the arrival of a vaccine.
While it is disappointing to break holiday traditions, there are still ways to celebrate the holidays safely. Now is the time to make new traditions and continue showing love and appreciation for loved ones.
1. Gather with Immediate Family or Small Group
The safest option for holiday gatherings is to gather with the people that you live with since you are already exposed to each other. If kids plan to come home for the holidays, these visitors can take precautions such as self-isolating and getting tested for COVID-19 before they arrive.
If you are at a high risk of COVID-19 due to age or health reasons, consider gathering with someone who has been practicing COVID precautions. When together, you can both wear a mask when not eating or drinking. As many people worry about the health of loved ones, it is better to celebrate the holidays without exposing vulnerable people to additional risk.
2. Gather Outdoors if the Weather Permits
If you live in a warm state, celebrating the holidays outside is a great option to safely carry on traditions. If you live in a cold state, you can bring various kinds of heaters outside or light a bonfire to keep warm. Many rental centers stock electric or propane patio heaters. Celebrating outdoors can bring new traditions to the family, such as games, smores, snowball fights, etc. With this option, it is still essential to wear masks and keep six feet of distance from others.
3. Spread Holiday Joy From Your Car
Like wishing friends and family members a happy birthday by driving by and honking, you can also do this for the holidays. Decorating a car with lights, signs, and balloons can be a fun and safe way to wish your friends, family members, and neighbors a happy holiday without getting too close. Another auto-centric option to celebrate the holidays is to meet friends and family at a nearby parking lot. You can roll down the windows, play music, and have a conversation at a distance while staying warm in the car.
4. FaceTime and Zoom Calls
For the many people with families that live out of state, FaceTime is a way to have a safe and warm conversation with loved ones. If you have a big family that usually celebrates together, creating a Zoom call for everyone to join can be a great way to all be together this holiday season. On a FaceTime or Zoom call, you can eat your home-cooked meals together, open gifts, and play games together. Plan to have dinner ready at the same time, send gifts early so people can open gifts over a virtual call, and prepare a virtual game night that can be fun for everyone. Games that can be played virtually could include charades, trivia, Pictionary, Yathzee, bingo, and more.
Click here to discover more video-call activity ideas to do with grandchildren!
Suppose one of your holiday traditions is watching a movie with family or friends. In that case, you can continue the tradition virtually this year. Teleparty allows everyone to watch a movie together on their television or computer. Teleparty works with Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO. Teleparty starts and stops the movie at the same time for all viewers and has a group chat feature to send messages to everyone watching. Grab some holiday snacks, put on holiday pajamas, and cuddle up for a virtual holiday movie night.
Regardless of where and how you chose to celebrate, the holidays can still be enjoyed with loved ones near and far while staying safe by social distancing and wearing a mask. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, new traditions are just a few weeks away.