How to Safely Celebrate the Holidays with Family

For almost a full year now, families have had to change the way they celebrate special occasions. Some pared down their dinner guest on Thanksgiving. Others decided to skip trick-or-treating on Halloween. And now, health officials are warning everyone against travelling for the winter holidays and hosting family gatherings.

Experts have noticed that case patterns tend to spike directly after holidays and long weekends, so it makes sense that they’ve asked that no one burst their small social bubble and invite more connections inside.

christmas ornaments

But of course, that does put a damper on holiday spirit! Here are a few ways you can still safely celebrate with your loved ones:

Visiting the Grandparents

Taking the kids to visit their grandparents is an essential part of the holidays for many people. But since seniors are more vulnerable to COVID, you will want to be extra careful when it comes to social and physical distancing.

If they live in their own home, consider dressing up in your favourite Christmas outfits and making a trip to drop gifts on their porch and wave at them through the window. If you can stand the cold, give them a quick call on the phone and talk to them from the porch. It might not last long, but it will be nice to see them in person.

If they’re living in a senior community, check with the staff to see if the facility is allowing window visits. Take a look to see how some senior homes in Ottawa and other places are maintaining social distancing measures and other safety precautions to make sure that all residents stay healthy.

Don’t worry too much if you can’t do a window visit, either. You can also plan holiday chats with the grandparents over the phone or through a videoconferencing app. It will be a great way to catch up — and you don’t have to freeze your toes off standing outside.

Remember to ask the senior home’s staff to see if they have any holiday plans in store for the residents. If they’re accepting cards, gifts, and treats from relatives, you can send the grandparents something special to let them know you’re thinking of them.

wrapped presents

Planning Gift Exchanges

It’s hard to hand out presents when you can’t be present. So, how can you give out gifts to your extended family this year?

First of all, make sure to shop and wrap well in advance. Then, either send packages through the mail or drop them off on the front step.

Alternatively, consider saving on shipping by sending digital gifts like streaming subscriptions, online memberships or gift cards! Ordering a parcel to be delivered directly to family is a great option too.

Keeping Up with Traditions

One of the hardest parts about a distanced holiday is having to miss out on favourite family traditions. So, get creative to try to find ways to safely celebrate and keep those traditions alive!

If your family loves getting together to watch Christmas movies, install the Netflix Party extension so you can watch together even when you’re apart. If you usually make a gingerbread house together, plan a Zoom decorating party and then compete to have the best looking house. And instead of the big Christmas potluck, maybe start a group chat and challenge everyone to make a food bank donation instead!

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There’s no way to avoid compromises and cancellations this year, but that doesn’t mean that the holiday season won’t still be a great one! With a little planning and creativity, you can still connect with your family and friends this year while safely celebrating!

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