An easy-to-follow guide to keeping you and your family safer during the holidays

One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that we don’t need to be physically together to be together.

One thing COVID-19 has taught us is that we don’t need to be physically together to be together. Virtual celebrations are an ideal way to catch up with those who live both near and far.

Gather ’round your digital devices

  • Ugly holiday sweater contest
  • Holiday home tours
  • Holiday baking day
  • Tree-trimming party

Check in on those who are alone or isolated

  • Share photos by text or email
  • Call loved ones and neighbors who are living alone, isolated or in nursing homes
  • Plan Zoom get-togethers to stay connected

Give children a chance to shine

Create opportunities for them to entertain others:

  • Reading a holiday story
  • Giving the holiday blessing
  • Telling a story
  • Showing off holiday art
  • Dancing, singing or playing an instrument

Safety-first gatherings

While there is no way to ensure complete safety from the virus when gathering with others, you can lessen the risk by taking some precautions.

Food preparation and serving

  • Provide serving utensils for each person.
  • Consider serving individually plated dinners and single-serving drinks.
  • Set tables 6 feet apart for guests from different households.
  • Divide potluck items into containers that stay at each table.
  • Use disposable napkins, cutlery and plates.
  • Have plenty of hand sanitizer, tissues, disposable masks, liquid soap and paper towels.
  • Get more safe food preparation ideas.

Additional tips for safer gatherings

Have honest conversations with family and friends about the importance of safety and your level of comfort.

Limit get-togethers to 10 people or fewer (or current state guidelines) and gather with those with whom you are most comfortable. If you wish to be around only those who follow social distancing and safety guidelines in their daily lives, be sure to share that with your loved ones.

Gather outside whenever possible.

If a gathering makes you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to decline or leave.

Respect others’ choices. Don’t be offended if people approach gatherings differently than you do.

Wear a mask to protect those around you. Make sure the mask fits closely around your nose and mouth. Masks are not recommended for children under age 2.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you eat and as often as possible.

Carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and use it after touching objects or other people. Supervise young children who are using hand sanitizer.

Stay home if you feel sick.

Consider self-isolating for two weeks before the gathering to lessen your chance of becoming infected and infecting others. This is especially important if you will be with people who are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

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