For the second year in a row, it appears the COVID-19 pandemic may affect how we gather and celebrate during the holiday season. While cases have reportedly dropped since early September, exercising caution will still keep us healthiest. 

Fortunately, there are ways you can enjoy the holidays while keeping your risk of COVID-19 low.

Get Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine lowers your risk of infection and helps reduce the spread of the virus, even where there are reports of breakthrough cases in vaccinated people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends the vaccine for anyone over five years old, and boosters are also available for adults. If you’re unsure whether you should receive an additional dose, talk to one of our care providers about your eligibility. 

Increase Your Ventilation

If you’re hosting the holidays, ventilating your home could help by giving germs an escape route. You can increase airflow by including one fan in an open window to blow out indoor air, while opening other windows to bring in more fresh air. It’s helpful to do this before any of your guests arrive. Keep in mind that even when it’s cold out, your home can heat up when the oven is on and there are more people present.

Consider an Outdoor or Virtual Gathering

Hosting an inside gathering may be considered safe when everyone has been vaccinated. But it’s best to avoid unmasked, indoor get-togethers if you don’t know who’s been given a shot or not. To make sure everyone’s safe, an outdoor or virtual gathering may be best. Keep up the festive vibe by mailing gifts in advance and having a virtual unwrapping or plan a holiday picnic in the park if the weather is mild. Exchanging letters that share your reflections on the year may also make things meaningful. 

Mask Up in Public

To give yourself and your loved ones extra protection, wear a mask when you go out. This includes during regular tasks like grocery shopping, but also when you have an indoor party or event you’d like to attend. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, still advises that even vaccinated people should wear a mask in public, indoor settings. You can make it festive by finding a mask with sequins or a holiday print — extra wrapping for the gift that is you!

Creative Low-Risk Activities

To keep the holidays bright, focus on what you can do without introducing any COVID risks. Create some new traditions (or put a new spin on the old) with the following ideas.

  • Take a drive at night to see nearby light displays.
  • Have a virtual holiday cookie baking competition.
  • Challenge kids to get their rooms holiday-ready using only dollar store or at-home decorations.
  • Host a virtual movie night “watch party” including your favorite holiday snacks and films. Add some trivia to the mix to make it even more challenging! 
  • Play holiday music and have family members guess the artist for a fun, lighthearted game.
  • Deliver treats to friends, neighbors, and a local food pantry or homeless shelter.

Whether it’s virtually or in person, the best way to celebrate the holidays is to make memories with loved ones. By practicing COVID safety, you can continue to give each other the best gift of all: your health.YourTown Health offers COVID testing and vaccination services to help you stay healthy through the holiday season and beyond. To find a provider near you, visit our locations page. Or, request a telehealth appointment online.