How to safely celebrate during the winter holiday

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the 2020 winter holiday season, the CDC is advising families about how to celebrate safely. The CDC encourages families to only gather with those who live with them, in order to decrease their chances of contradicting COVID-19.

As important as the holidays are for many people, they also pose a lot of health risks during a global pandemic. "The holidays are higher risk activities for a couple of reasons," says Dr. Sandra Kesh, infectious disease expert and physician at WestMed Medical Group. "Generally you're having family from other areas come together, so you're going beyond your household. And anytime there is a social event and alcohol is involved, which most people enjoy during the holidays, there's that risk for looser behavior," says Dr. Kesh.

Virtually celebrating is the activity with the lowest risk. Fortunately, with platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and smartphones, the holiday season can be celebrated from afar. Experts said families should consider reimagined games such as virtual secret santa and best wrapped present competitions.

For children who may be missing experiences with Santa, Yankee Candle has provided a unique solution. 

Yankee Candle created TheOfficialSantaCam.com which is available for access anytime up until December 24. This cam spotlights Santa's busy life at the North Pole as he builds toys, reads letters, and prepares for his big adventure come Christmas eve. Between the hours of 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m, Santa partakes in extra activities like learning TikTok dances, sketching pictures of Rudolph, painting toys, and more.

For those who have planned a gathering of any size with those outside of their household, the CDC has provided various considerations beforehand.

Tips from the CDC:

  • Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.

  • Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.

  • Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.

Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.