Holiday Hosting in the Age of COVID-19: Practical Tips for Parents

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By Kristin Louis

As we prepare for the upcoming holidays, many parents are wondering how and where they’ll celebrate with their families this year. With COVID-19 cases increasing in many parts of the U.S., some families are canceling their holiday plans altogether, while others are opting for virtual celebrations or small gatherings with immediate household members.

But even though this year’s holiday gatherings are going to look a bit different, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate at all. These tips will help you to host a safe and memorable holiday for your family in the age of COVID-19!

Ideas for Safe Holiday Gatherings

As the coronavirus situation worsens and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to share updated guidance for small gatherings and holiday celebrations, you may be wondering which types of holiday hosting plans are considered safe this year. According to CDC guidelines, virtual celebrations and small gatherings with immediate household members are safest, while in-person celebrations with family and friends from different households are considered higher risk.

Regardless of who you’ll be celebrating the holidays with this year, there are some precautions you can take to limit the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • Hosting a virtual celebration. Sally Painter of LoveToKnow shares some unique tips and ideas for planning a virtual holiday party that’s complete with games, holiday movies, food, and festive beverages. Just remember to protect your tech devices from potential viruses, cyber-attacks, and other security threats, and learn how to reduce your risk of identity theft before heading online. Tech-savvy teens can help with this step.
  • Bringing the gathering outdoors. To limit COVID-19 exposure, celebrate with outdoor activities like ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, skiing, and hiking. Or build your own fire pit so you can safely gather together for a celebration in your own backyard. Outdoorsy teens can take charge of this task. When building the fire pit, however, you’ll need to refrain from using wet stones or give them a few days to dry.
  • Keeping gatherings short. Since longer gatherings are riskier than shorter ones, it’s important to keep the celebration short if you’ll be celebrating with non-household members. Additionally, be sure to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, and proper mask-wearing. Teens can supervise their younger siblings and remind them about healthy habits.

Prep Meals Like a Pro

If your holiday celebrations will include a meal or sit-down dinner, there are some things you can do to make meal prep as easy as possible. This is a great opportunity to keep teenagers engaged by letting them assist with the process. Amanda of Life at Cloverhill recommends planning a menu in advance, putting together a cooking schedule that can be followed on the day-of, selecting a make-ahead dessert, and utilizing handy kitchen gadgets like slow cookers.

In addition to slow cookers, several other gadgets can help to take some of the stress out of hosting a holiday dinner for your family, especially in the midst of a pandemic. These include automatic soap dispensers, electric wine openers, food processors and choppers (to avoid chopping by hand), and a high-quality can opener.

Before purchasing a can opener or another new kitchen gadget, be sure to consider the quality of the device and its materials, how easy it is to use, and other things like device maintenance. You may also wish to look for a device with added features that may come in handy during the holidays (like a built-in bottle opener).

The Bottom Line

Holiday celebrations will look a bit different this year, but these changes are necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. And even though we’ll be missing out on many of our favorite holiday hosting traditions — like gathering around a big dinner table with extended family and friends — we still have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Are you a parent to one or more homeschoolers? Visit Homeschooling Teen for advice, book suggestions, and free downloadable printables for homeschoolers and their parents.

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