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Safer celebrations for this holiday season

Posted on Dec. 1, 2020 ( comments)

The holiday season is in full swing. But many of our normal festitivies — holiday parties with family and friends, festive dinners out, attending holiday concerts and performances — are on hold this year, thanks to the spread of COVID-19.

In Washington state, indoor social gatherings are restricted and outdoor gatherings are currently limited until Jan. 4, 2021, and the state's travel advisory asks residents to stick close to home for the time being (and to quarantine for 14 days if you do leave the state).

But even though the holidays look different this year, don't give up on celebrations all together. We're all weary of the ongoing challenges and restirictions to our lives because of COVID-19. Finding ways to connect this holiday season is more important than ever.

The Washington State Department of Health has put together a guide to help you plan celebrations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including ideas for the upcoming winter holidays. Here are some highlights:

Giving thanks

In a year filled with challenges, it can feel good to pause and consider the things for which we are grateful, whether that be a person, pet, place or thing. Highlight these bright spots by writing them down or sending notes, texts or emails to people in your life to express why you are grateful for them.

On-screen get togethers

Scheduling a few virtual holiday gatherings can take the sting out of being separated. Getting together online to cook, open gifts, decorate desserts, do a craft project, listen to a playlist, or read stories can create a bit of the togetherness we crave. Consider time zones when scheduling, and make sure that any people who are not tech-savvy get help beforehand so they can be included.

Secret gift exchange

Assign each family or friend a name, and ask them to mail or do a no-contact delivery of a small gift they make or buy to their assigned person. Open gifts on a group video chat and try to guess who gave what to whom.

Remote potluck

Rather than getting together, you can assign dishes to friends and family and deliver them to one another’s homes. Or deliver just the ingredients for a dish or meal. Then, log in to your favorite video chat app to cook or dig in.

Remember, indoor social gatherings are currently restricted. If you choose to celebrate in person with friends or family from outside your household, gatherings are limited to outdoor only unless everyone can follow the quarantine requirements outlined in the restriction. In-person gatherings increase the risk of COVID-19 infection. Help to lessen the risk by keeping the group small, wearing masks, making sure you have room for guests to spread out, and don't share food and beverages. 

Read the full guide on the Department of Health's website.

For more information on the holidays and COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This article is part of our ongoing "Safe(r) Holidays" series. View the full series at our COVID-19 Resource Center.

Posted in: COVID-19

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