Enjoying Christmas and staying safe during a pandemic

At the time of year when we want to be closest to our loved ones, Covid-19 is still making it difficult to spend time together. Many of the people we’re most anxious to see, such as grandparents and other older relatives, are the most vulnerable. While three households can form a Christmas ‘bubble’ it’s as important as ever to stay safe, and keep your bubble as small as possible.

Still, as we near the end of a long and challenging year, it’s important to get into the spirit of the season and remember all that we have to be thankful for. Here are some tips on how to enjoy the festive period while also preparing for a merrier 2021.

1. Don’t assume everyone is healthy.

One of the reasons Covid-19 has been so hard to contain is that many people don’t realize they have it. In particular, younger people who are asymptomatic may not experience coughs, fevers, or other flu-like symptoms. And even if your area has low levels of infection, guests might be travelling from — or through — Covid hot spots.

2. Set clear guidelines for in-person events.

Although three households can meet, the same rules of hands, face, space are still important. Six feet of social distance, lots of hand washing and masks where possible. Be realistic with the space you have and the amount of people in your bubble.

More importantly, make sure that your guests understand and agree to the rules beforehand. Christmas get-togethers can be stressful enough without arguing about masks and whether the kids can hug grandma.

To review the government’s recommendations on Christmas bubbles during Covid-19, click here.

3. Create meaningful experiences.

Virtual Christmas activities can add a little extra fun to your regular Zoom routine. Plan ahead and move the annual Christmas quiz online. Distribute Secret Santa names earlier so everyone has enough time to send their mail. Gifts from the heart might be particularly meaningful this year, so get going on baking cookies, knitting scarves, and printing family photo albums.

Parents have a tough task if they are keeping their families inside their household bubbles for the holidays. There’s no replacing a beloved family party, but this might be a year to start some new traditions. Have your kids ever made a gingerbread house or a Christmas wreath? Are they old enough to start helping with decorations or wrapping presents?

4. Start looking ahead.

In recent weeks, we’ve received very promising news on Covid-19 vaccines. Caution during the winter months combined with ongoing medical progress could very well lead to a more normal 2021.

As you’re huddled together virtually or sipping eggnog six feet apart, you and your family can start making plans to catch up for lost time, missed parties, rescheduled holidays, and less-than-ideal festive celebrations. Block off some hopeful calendar space for your next family event. Brainstorm flexible options that you can adapt around future health and travel concerns. Getting excited about all the special times that are still ahead will bring your family closer together no matter how far apart you are right now.

However you and your family choose to celebrate, we hope that your December is happy and safe. May your family have some big plans for 2021, here’s to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.