Traditions are hard to break, especially when it comes to the holiday season.
But, you all know where I'm going with this: traditions must be broken this holiday season….at least, just a little. Even with the pandemic still raging on, we can still spend the holidays relaxing, decompressing, and reflecting on the year that has passed.
It just has to look a little different.
Your best bet to stay safe and healthy this holiday season is to only celebrate with those who live within your household, as recommended by the CDC, to reduce the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu.
For some, that's enough of a group to celebrate the holidays properly. Remember to continue taking precautions when leaving the house and when returning on a daily basis.
You know the drill: practice social distancing, wash your hands, and wear your mask (yes, over your mouth and nose). You could even take the extra step of changing from your outside clothes to your inside clothes, as COVID-19 can live on your clothes.
As the weather has gotten chillier, I've personally been making sure that my own household leaves the house only when absolutely necessary. We've been prioritizing getting things delivered over getting them ourselves whenever possible. The less contact with others that don't live in the household, the better.
Here, it gets a little harder. With celebrating with those who live outside of your household, it is best to get together, socially distant, outside, which, for many places of the country, it's nearly impossible to do with the cold weather. That doesn't necessarily mean that you can't celebrate.
One easy way to celebrate together, but apart, is via Zoom.
Get your family and friends together all in one 'place' and celebrate via video chat. Have everyone make the same foods or the same drinks or play a virtual game together. My personal favorites are Among Us and Kahoot, but there are many ideas out there. You could even arrange a few rounds of charades via video.
If the weather is nice, go outdoors.
By going outdoors, it means stay outdoors. The better the circulation, the less risk you have of getting and spreading COVID when with others who are not in your household. Keep indoor activities for bathroom use only, and disinfect that area like hell after the get-together.
Make the food arrangements and entertainment as socially-distant-friendly as possible. Your best bet might be for each household to bring their own food and spread out at different tables, at least six feet apart. Even if you're socially distant, make sure to wear your masks whenever you're not eating.
Take photos together, but keep your distance.
A long selfie stick, despite the stigma, can be super useful here. Even consider having each household take a selfie from their point of view. It's not the picture around the Christmas tree as it is every year, but it's something to remember the year by, for both the good and the bad.
…or just, don't get together. Stay home.
Sure, holidays only come once a year but don't risk it all just for one get together. Celebrate with your roommates. If you live alone, come up with new traditions, watch a few Christmas movies, do some major self-care, and yes, call your family up to chat a little.
We may have to sacrifice a lot this holiday season, but it doesn't mean that you can't take in the indulgences of the holiday season. Treat yourself to a nice meal in, bake those Christmas cookies, make a gingerbread house and relax, which, I know, relaxing seems impossible after the year we've all had.
But do what you can, stay safe, and put in all the positive energy for a great year next year.