This holiday activity will put you at the most risk for COVID-19

We’ve had to sacrifice a lot of fun events for the greater good to stop the spread this year.

The holiday season is notorious for gathering with large groups of friends and family for some festive fun but you may want to do things a little differently this year.

I know it’s frustrating missing out on all of the big holiday parties but if you reframe these short term sacrifices as acts of service for long term benefits like Myq Kaplan, an NYC based comedian, you might feel better.

“There’s an experiment where kids can have ONE marshmallow NOW or wait and get TWO LATER. Some are impulsive and eat the one right away. Anyway. You can have ONE thanksgiving NOW, or if you wait, you and loved ones can have statistically many more thanksgivings in the future.”

Just switch out thanksgiving with any holiday you might celebrate and you get the point. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put together a list of safe activities in this press release and one’s to miss altogether this holiday season.

Skip these holiday rituals to curb the spread

1. Taking photos with Santa

Unfortunately, visiting Santa to enjoy his expressive ho-ho-ho’s is a big no-no-no this year. Children from different households gathering together in a crowded mall to sit on a sweaty man’s lap that has had 100 different kids spitting their Christmas wish list into his ear? I shudder at the thought. It’s impossible to socially distance in this scenario and cases in young children are beginning to rise in general.

2. Midnight mass at church

Midnight mass typically has all sorts of people from different communities, with different infection rates, all gathering under one house of worship. While some folks continued to go to church every Sunday, (creating a quasi-bubble of some kind), the people that go to midnight mass for Christmas typically aren’t weekly parishioners. Those who don’t always go to the same congregation every week have a higher chance of bringing COVID-19 from their outside community with them.

3. Office parties

I’m absolutely devastated I can’t go all out for Christmas karaoke at my company’s holiday party this year. Nothing like a heavy hand pouring eggnog all night to give you the liquid confidence you need to belt Mariah Carrey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, but that’s not in the cards this year. Large groups of people huddled up in a warm office building with booze and gifts galore will turn that joyous celebration into a dreaded super-spreader event.

4. Holiday buffets and potlucks

I love a good holiday potluck with a secret Santa but anyone gathering inside without masks eating food that came from multiple different households is a bad idea. With the cold months upon us, people throwing these kinds of buffets will be less likely to ventilate the room as it can get pretty cold. The combination of low ventilation, large groups, and unmasked eating and drinking make this a very risky activity indeed.

So what can we do in lieu of these fun activities this Yuletide?

Safe holiday activities to engage in instead

1. Take a Christmas lights display tour

The light show this time of year is truly something to behold so why not take a socially distanced walk through neighborhoods that go all out to deck the halls? If it’s too cold to walk you can share a car with people who live in your house to admire the twinkling lights.

2. Have a holiday movie marathon

We all have that one movie we watch every year around this time as a tradition. I love watching a Charlie Brown Christmas. It reminds me of simpler Christmases past and of all the fun things I used to do with family and friends as a kid myself around this time of year like picking out a tree, ice skating, and caroling with friends. Whip up some hot cocoa and have a Netflix watch party with friends remotely!

3. Virtual tree decorating party

Speaking of picking out trees, decorating them to a groovy Christmas themed playlist can be super fun for the whole family. Bring your extended family into the mix by calling them on Zoom to see how they dressed up their tree. If you want to decorate a bit earlier this year studies prove the act of decorating for holidays has the power to boost your mood! Compiling a Spotify playlist your whole family can add their holiday favorites to can also be part of the celebration.

4. Cookie bake-off competition

One of the best parts of this festive season is the delectable treats. Spoiler alert: it was me who ate the cookies left out for Santa last year. A relatively safe and fun activity to do this year is a cookie making the contest between your roommates or family that lives with you. Transmission rates for sharing food and containers are low since you all live together. Take what you learned from comfort binging the Great British Bake Off this year and show us what you’ve got!

Please celebrate responsibly this holiday season and we’ll see you in the new year happier and healthier than ever.