Dear Keiro,

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my family is going to celebrate the holidays this year. Gathering on holidays has been a family tradition, and I want my family to come to my house like before, and at least celebrate after this long difficult year of avoiding gatherings. However, I don’t entirely feel comfortable having many people over…but I also don’t want things to change. What should I do?

Sincerely, Keeping Traditions

Dear Keeping Traditions,

With the holiday season being the most popular time of the year to gather, your feelings of wanting to see your family and friends in person are completely understandable. There is no denying that celebrating the holidays will be different this year due to COVID-19. We are still in the midst of a pandemic with thousands of new cases emerging each day.

However, the most important thing to know is that even though we’ve had to shift how we connect with our loved ones, that should not bring down the holiday spirit! There are many alternatives: virtual gatherings over Zoom; gift and food drop offs at the doorstep; a drive-by holiday parade; a secret santa gift exchange held via mailing gifts; and so much more.

Safely gathering in person can also be an option, but be aware of what measures you must take to protect yourself and those around you. We highly recommend following the CDC’s guidelines for safe gatherings during the holidays (some listed at the bottom) and adhering to regulations from your local government. Although we may want to make an “exception” to gather our family for the holidays, remember that there is still risk associated with people coming together, especially from various households.

This is also an opportunity to get creative on how you celebrate with your family and friends. Have a candid and open conversation with them about what you are all comfortable with and what the safest option is for everyone.

For more detailed tips to think about when making your in-person holiday plans, please consider reading our article on celebrating the holidays safely.

Be sure to stay safe, and happy holidays!

Some of CDC’s guidelines:

  • Checking the infection rate in your local area
  • Limiting the number of people gathering, and avoid crowded gatherings
  • Consider the duration and location of the gathering
  • Require guests to wear masks
  • Encourage attendees to wash hands frequently
  • Encourage guests to avoid contact with people outside the household 14 days before gathering
  • And more available here.

For more information, please read Celebrating the Holidays Safely.

Published 11/10/2020