Smart Swaps For Keeping Holiday Traditions This Year

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holiday covid

Deck the halls. Trim the tree. Light the candles. Some holiday traditions involve little risk of spreading COVID-19.

Others — such as travel, worship services, and group meals — pose more danger. “That’s especially true if you or those you’re celebrating with are at high risk due to older age or underlying health conditions,” says Amy Edwards, MD, Associate Medical Director of Infectious Diseases at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Understand Your Options

“While there’s no way to make every observance risk-free, it’s important to understand your options,” Dr. Edwards says. To stay safer this season, Dr. Edwards suggests you make these swaps for typical festivities.

Instead of: Attending a faith gathering

Try: Viewing a virtual service

These days, many religious groups have gone high-tech. You can often join via webcam or phone. Check websites or social media for resources like song lyrics and bulletins.

Instead of: Hosting a cookie exchange

Try: Planning a drop-off swap

It’s OK to bake goodies for friends and family — just be sure everyone knows to wash their hands and put on a mask before getting started. Wrap sweet treats individually and leave them at each other’s houses. You can also trade recipes to bake at home with your family.

Instead of: Flying to see relatives

Try: Postponing your trip — or driving

Depending on infection rates at your home and destination, you might consider waiting to visit. If you do make the trip, know that security lines and airport terminals can put you in close contact with others. While driving, only ride with people from your household and be cautious when stopping for food, gas, or bathroom breaks.

Instead of: Serving up a buffet

Try: Personal portions of holiday favorites

Health experts don’t believe COVID-19 spreads through food. Still, sharing serving utensils can contaminate surfaces. Plus, lingering over the lamb or lasagna means you’re prone to stand close to others. Consider having one person dish out food and ask others to stay out of the kitchen.  Also, if your celebration will include people who don’t live in your house, be sure everyone is wearing a mask! 

Instead of: Hugging and handshaking

Try: Waving and speaking warm greetings

Togetherness may feel a bit different this season — at least, until COVID-19 is better contained. Instead of gestures that involve physical contact, offer merry wishes in ways that keep some space between you and those who don’t live in your household.

Related Links

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s dedicated team of more than 1,300 pediatric specialists uses the most advanced treatments and latest innovations to deliver the complete range of pediatric specialty services for 750,000 patient encounters each year. Learn more about UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital or find a pediatrician close to home.

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