The holidays wouldn't hold nearly as much value to us all if it weren't for family gatherings. This is a time of year when we see relatives visiting from near and far. For some, it is the only time certain relatives and friends get a chance to visit in person. These traditions are important because they bring us together and remind us of the important things in life. This year, of course, it's important to be especially aware of viral safety before and during family gatherings. People who live different lifestyles and have varying levels of immune strength will all be under the same roof, and we want everyone to be healthy enough to enjoy the holidays together.
The best way to plan for a safe holiday season this year is to think ahead about cleanliness, social distancing, and making these things easy for the whole family. You can decorate with sanitizer stations and plan for a slightly wider conversation circle to help your holiday still feel close and loving even with a little extra viral safety awareness.
Spend Time Together Outdoors
Hold your family gatherings out on the patio or porch if/when the weather is nice. It's safer for people to gather outdoors where there is better air ventilation.
- Make this a cozy gathering by setting up a circle of padded chairs
- Place a fire pit or heat lamp in the center for heat and entertainment
- Provide plenty of cozy blankets for people to use if it gets extra chilly
- Prepare a large, dispensable thermos of hot cocoa - it'll warm everyone up and is a delicious holiday treat
Air Out the House
During gatherings, open the windows and maybe the doors to air out the house. Increasing ventilation and circulation will really help to carry away virus particles instead of keeping them around to recirculate in your home. You can also change your air filter, clean the vents, and have your HVAC tuned if you want to really prepare for strong airflow in the house before guests arrive. Or you can do this for your older relative if they are the traditional holiday host.
Set Up Hand Sanitizer and Lotion Stations Around the House
Want to make hand cleanliness easy and even pleasant? Set up holiday hand sanitizer stations that are festive and nice-smelling in addition to being helpful. Nestle a hand-pump of sanitizer and another of hand lotion. All that sanitising dries out the hands, and moisturizing lotion is the best way to curb that.
If no one is allergic, a holiday-scented hand cream might really make stopping at the sanitizer stations rewarding. Place one in each room at natural locations in the flow of traffic to help everyone keep clean and nicely moisturized hands all holiday.
Take Turns Cleaning Frequently
Wiping down high-touch and common surfaces is a big part of safety this year, but no one should have to face the task alone. Get your family to take turns snagging the cleaner bottle and cloth to wipe down surfaces whenever they enter or leave a room. Set up a helpful cleaning roster, room responsibility, or just use the honor system knowing everyone wants to keep the shared space as germ-free as possible.
Prepare and Clean-Up Food Carefully
Food safety is important when trying to reduce the spread of any household viruses. Those who take on cooking meals or retrieving food from the kitchen should take the most care to maintain cleanliness standards.
- Food can be loaded from a clean kitchen onto individual plates to help reduce exposure for every meal
- When laying out snacks or buffet-style, use clear platter covers to help reduce exposure as family members help themselves one at a time at the table
- Desserts made before the gathering can be individually wrapped to make each one safe for anyone to snack on
Provide a Basket of Clean Fabric Masks
Create a household supply of clean, comfortable fabric masks and mask-bands. Leave them in a basket in the family room with a hamper below for used masks. This makes it easy to launder masks every day and use them as-needed, whether that's for all family-room gatherings, just around grandma, or when you're headed out for some shopping.
Staying Festive and Safe This Holiday Season
The holidays are a time to have fun and enjoy the company of close family and friends. This is a time we're supposed to share a table and heart, and we still should. You can create a virally safe environment inside your home with just a few friendly steps. Decorate around your hand-sanitizer bottles and work together to create beautiful, safely prepared meals and meet around a cheery fire on the back patio. Plan your gatherings with these tips in mind to have a lovely, safe time with your loved ones.