Celebrating the holidays safely

The experts say, “Think small, and be creative.” For businesses, keep boosting employee health.

We’re all tired of the pandemic and ready for a return to normal, especially now that the holiday season is upon us. However, health experts are recommending against getting together in-person with groups of people this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread.*

While adding precautions at home and eliminating company get-togethers feels restrictive, it certainly doesn’t have to be. It helps to emphasize the values behind the holidays, rather than the activities in which we traditionally engage. With a little bit of creativity and an open mind, this holiday season can be as bright as any.

New ways to approach your holiday gathering

  • Enjoy a small dinner with people who live in your household. You can always share holiday wishes with family members via a phone call or Skype.
  • Celebrate with your co-workers in a virtual dinner, with all participants eating at the same time. Or, create an online recipe sharing or cooking event.
  • Prepare traditional family recipes for relatives and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Set up a Zoom session where children can make holiday cards for relatives.
  • Watch sports events, parades, and holiday movies from home, and comment with family or coworkers via Twitter or Facebook.

Brave the cold and get together outside

There may be a nip in the air, but outdoor gatherings may still be possible, which are safer than congregating inside the house or office. The CDC emphasizes that, even outside, people should stay 6 feet apart from each other and wear masks, except when eating or drinking. This may be your opportunity to ask yourself, “How hardy am I?”

  • Consider pitching a tent on the lawn and meet for lunch when the temperatures are warmer. You could even try smoking your turkey on the grill.
  • Dress like you’re headed to the ski slopes. Wear layers, a hat, and gloves. Hosts or guests can provide freshly laundered blankets.
  • Gather around an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Share stories and sentiments about what makes the holiday special. Bring plenty of hot cocoa.

Celebrate these micro-holidays, too

Thinking of imaginative ways to acknowledge these lesser-known holidays can be fun for the whole family or can liven up an office phone meeting.

Thursday, Nov. 26  Cake Day
Sunday, Nov. 29   Electronic Greeting Card Day
Tuesday, Dec. 1
   Eat a Red Apple Day
Friday, Dec. 4
   Wear Brown Shoes Day
Saturday, Dec. 12
   Gingerbread House Day
Wednesday, Dec. 16
   Chocolate Covered Anything Day
Friday, Dec. 18
  Ugly Sweater Day
Thursday, Dec. 24
   Eggnog Day
Thursday, Dec. 31
  Make Up Your Mind Day (about a New Year’s plan?)

 Share inventive, healthy holiday recipes

If you find yourself experiencing high levels of stress about the pandemic, the coming holidays, or anything else, please reach out for help. Preferred EAP offers individual/group counseling, personnel training, and critical incident management for employers large and small.

Find Pennsylvania updates on COVID-19 here.

Consider partnering with the area’s largest network of health-related services through Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), its behavioral health arm Preferred EAP, and wellness provider BeneFIT Corporate Wellness. Also available: COVID-19 health and safety services for businesses.