Celebrate the Holidays Safely

Are you doomed to Zoom this holiday season? Not necessarily. While large, indoor gatherings of far-flung family and friends is ill-advised, it is possible to modify your usual celebrations to keep them safe – and meaningful. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home, with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

Standard Safety Precautions

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin and make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get your flu shot! Flu season is always a serious matter, and in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu shot has never been more important.

Additional Holiday Precautions

If you are meeting in-person with people outside of your household, the following additional steps can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Keep the festivities outside. We are fortunate in Southern California to enjoy temperate weather most of the year. With lows in the 50s, keeping gatherings outside is an easy feat.
  • If gathering outside is not possible, keep the windows open to allow for maximum ventilation.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

How to Be a Gracious (and Safe) Host

  • Hugging and kissing is a no, but communication is a must. Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests to a small gathering of family and friends who live in your community.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you do travel:

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
  • Watch television and play games with people in your household.
  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.