Celebrate safely this holiday season
The holidays are upon us, bringing a time to celebrate and gather. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, however, even small in-person gatherings are a contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases we are seeing across the nation and in our own community. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, family, and community healthy and safe.
The desire to gather comes from a place of love; the same place that makes us want to protect those who are close to us. Now is the time to show our love in ways that don’t risk spreading or exposing others to the coronavirus – especially to grandparents, and vulnerable friends or family members with underlying health conditions.
We are all facing complex challenges with the pandemic, and the holidays can bring on even more anxiety. The need for human connection in a time when we can’t be together in person can take its toll on our mental health. Giving thanks and making time to focus on what we are grateful for builds resilience and helps relieve stress.
Celebrating safely gives us an opportunity to share in the warmth of the season in new, creative ways this year:
• Practice gratitude virtually with a group of close friends and family, and share one thing you are grateful for each day leading up to a holiday.
• Exchange favorite recipes with friends and family members, telling them about the dish’s origin and why it’s so special to you.
• Prepare food with members of your household, as part of your celebration together.
• Host a virtual dinner party, and welcome others to join your household for part or all of the meal.
• Decorate for the holiday together, and enlist your household to make table settings or set up lighting that feels festive
• Plan a theme for your household to dress for dinner (formal attire, matching pajamas – this is the year to wear what you want).
• Invite others to pick a local charity to give to, and take turns sharing why you chose that cause and how it makes an impact in your community.
• Watch sports events, parades, and movies from home, and set up a virtual watch party to share the experience and commentary.
Guidance from public health officials is in place to keep us safe, such as California urging people not to travel for the holidays. We can take measures into our own hands to help slow the spread of COVID-19, following the restrictions of public health agencies and opting to celebrate more safely at home with members of our immediate household.
Taking time to connect with loved ones will help you enjoy the magic of the season, and a more simple and quiet celebration. Know that avoiding travel and crowded indoor settings, as well as choosing contactless ways to connect with others this holiday season helps reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and are some of the greatest gifts you can give this season.
Dr. Rhonda Sneeringer is the Medical Director of Outpatient COVID-19 Care, and the Director of Pediatrics at Barton Health.
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