Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season This holiday season is going to be quite different from any other, which means we all have to get creative and plan ahead.Read our blog post: holiday season has officially begun, and that typically means shopping for gifts, cooking and baking, and celebrating with family and friends. This holiday season will not be like any other but that doesn’t mean it’s canceled. Below are some things to think about as you plan your holidays.

This holiday season is going to be quite different from any other, which means we all have to get creative.

If you’re like us, you’re probably feeling sad and disappointed that you can’t see friends and family the way you normally would. We know this is tough: just like you, we look forward to gathering with loved ones and honoring long-held traditions. This holiday season we’ll all need to adapt our traditions the best we can and start planning the elaborate parties we’ll hold in December 2021! Until then, here are some ways to more safely celebrate the holidays:

Reschedule them

Sure, you can adapt your traditions and celebrate now, but rescheduling completely is also an option. Who says you can’t drink eggnog or snack on latkes or open presents with family in July? If the thought of not seeing loved ones this holiday season is too much, think of it as just postponing plans, not changing them completely.

Make it virtual

  • Get family and friends set up with a video call program. Trust us on this: Don’t wait until the last minute to teach everyone how to download and use your program of choice. Schedule some time now to get everyone squared away!
  • Play games virtually. Schedule a call to eat, play games, watch movies and ball games, and celebrate virtually! We love these tips and options.
  • Create new traditions. What new traditions can you make with friends and family? For example, who can make the best gingerbread house? Who owns the most unique holiday PJs? Snap pics, share with loved ones, and vote!

Take it outside

  • Outdoor gatherings are allowed with 10 people or less, with physical distancing. Have guests bring their own food and do not share food. Masks should be worn unless people are eating or drinking.
  • Plan activities that require little modification outside. For example, bonfires, hikes, and snowshoeing are all seasonally appropriate.

Keep it local

Avoid traveling to gatherings outside of Dane County. Many places outside of Dane County have even more COVID-19 in their communities. You may become sick and bring the virus back with you, or spread the virus to your loved ones.

Quarantine ahead

If you plan to gather, a way to reduce risk is to have every attendee quarantine for 14 days beforehand. For example, if you plan to gather on Christmas Eve, your entire guest list would need to quarantine starting December 9.

When quarantining, you can go outside by yourself or with people you live with, pick up groceries or essentials only through contactless pickup or delivery, work or attend school from home, and hang out with people virtually. You cannot go to work, school, or childcare in person; go inside a store or other public building; or socialize with anyone outside of your household in person.

Create a bubble

We have a whole blog post about what creating a bubble means and how to do it.

Test appropriately

  • Testing before a gathering doesn’t make it safe. Getting tested before gathering with others only tells you if you had COVID on the day you were tested. A negative test does not necessarily mean it is safe to gather with others.
  • If you were exposed, time your test right. Unless you are experiencing symptoms, wait 3-5 days to get tested for COVID-19 after a possible exposure. This allows for enough of the virus to build up in your body that can be detected by a test.

Write to Santa, don’t visit him

Sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t going to work this year. Santa apologizes, but on top of everything else, he and Mrs. Claus are in a high-risk group since they are several hundred years old. He says please write him letters instead!

Shop safely and support local businesses

The pandemic has affected many local businesses this year. Consider ways to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 while supporting local businesses at the same time.

  • Do your holiday shopping from your couch. Many local businesses offer online shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery. Shop local online, have gifts delivered to your family and friends, and gather virtually to open them.
  • Plan trips out. If you have to shop in person, make a list before you leave home, keep your trip short, and try to go at a time when the store is less busy. If you are older or in a high risk group, check if the store offers special shopping hours.

We all want to see this pandemic end. Public Health orders and recommendations provide a baseline of what we must do to reduce disease spread, but everyone in the community plays a role in protecting our community’s health. Find new ways to celebrate your holiday traditions safely this year to help keep your family, your loved ones, and our community safer.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.