The distribution of vaccines is gaining steam but staying vigilant during the Christmas weekend and the rest of the winter is advisable.
Celebrating a festival, need not necessarily mean following the usual and routine ways. While it may seem unnatural to say no to invitations to meet friends and family members at this time of year, it’s important to remember that there’s a good reason behind it.
The spirit of the festival remains unchanged and the pandemic has continued to remind people that if you are ready to follow the safety guideless properly then there are many ways to celebrate Christmas. The rules might be a dampener but it is also making sure you protect your loved ones and friends who can be susceptible to coronavirus, especially those who are already infected and the elderly.
Celebrating The Holidays, Safely!
Being safe this holiday season is something each one of us has been constantly reminded but some still have no clue about how to be safe. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can help you with the best strategies and guidelines on its website for small gatherings and holiday celebrations this winter.
With increasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on the rise across the country, the safest and simplest way to celebrate Christmas is at home with your family. If you want to celebrate with other loved ones staying away from you, a virtual celebration is the best option that poses the lowest risk.
Even small in-person gatherings are unsafe and risky at this point in time, though indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor ones. The duration of the gathering is another factor that can decide the safety of your health. If you are exposed, to someone affected by coronavirus for 15 minutes or more can significantly increase the risk of contracting the virus.
Attending Or Hosting A Gathering
Despite the strong recommendations and advice to stay home and celebrate only with family members in one’s own household, many Americans still don’t want to let go of the spirit and mood of Christmas to celebrate with others.
If you’re hosting a small celebration or planning to attend, the CDC advises you to:
- Discuss expectations and the possibilities like the number of attendees ahead of time with your host (or guests, if you’re the one organizing the gathering)
- Find out COVID-19 infection rates in the area
- Check the number of people at the gathering
- Host gatherings outdoors if possible
- Open windows and doors for better ventilation, if staying indoors
- Request guests to keep distance, wear masks, and wash hands frequently. Make sure you have a placard mentioning all these rules to be followed so that they are aware of the situation.
And remember, even though outdoor dining bubbles and pop-up tents have become a popular way to dine out with guests, some pose less risk than others. The ones that can be rolled up from the bottom or that are open on the sides or tend to provide more air circulation so the CDC considers them a safer option.
How To Handle Food And Drinks
Currently, there is no hard evidence to suggest that eating or handling food is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. The possibilities are more if a person can get infected with coronavirus by touching an object or surface, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
When eating and drinking at the Christmas gathering:
- Guests should bring food from their own households
- Wearing masks while preparing food, drinks and while serving anyone
- Everyone should wash their hands before handling or consuming food or drinks including taking out the trash
Let The Spirits Run High
Look, this has been a terrible year and there was nothing much you could do but save yourself from getting infected from the virus. Few were lucky and few succumbed but life has to go on. Nothing has changed as far as the excitement is concerned because the festivities have been restricted to your homes.
The celebrations were not public but behind closed doors. Now, that is the best part about the holiday season we wait the whole year for that one occasion where you express all your love, affection, joy, and excitement and why shouldn’t we?
While hosting a Christmas gathering in your home gives you cover from COVID-19 there is still one thing that you should be aware of and that is money. A few bucks here and there will surely be spent to make the occasion a memorable one. Guests will not mind if you are starving for cash during these trying times but you can be a good host!
Take help from an emergency fund to get few dollars to celebrate the festival which is priceless!
Never let your hopes go down, our lives are temporary and so is the crisis. So, chin up, cheer up and buckle up! Bring that smile on your face it’s Christmas time!
By Karthick V.