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Holiday Safety Do’s and Don’ts for a Very Different 2020 Season

Posted by Mike Rigert on Dec 28, 2020 8:45:00 AM

Celebrating the holidays in 2020 may be just a little different than in years past due to efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean you can’t party it up. Families will just need to make a few COVID-19 safety adjustments to fete the holidays this year.

To provide some examples of “do’s and don’ts,” let’s take a look at familiar situations from some popular holiday films. We’ll try to illustrate through these scenarios how to ensure you’re being COVID-19 safe while still making merry and enjoying family traditions. See if you can guess which movie each example is from.

Holiday Movie Do’s and Don’ts

1. DO drive into the countryside with your immediate family to select and cut down a fresh fir or pine to place in your home. DON’T allow extended family (invited and uninvited) or friends to make their way into your home for a big feast this holiday season. However, DO invite family and neighbors for the ceremonial illuminating of your outdoor holiday light display as long as everyone is wearing facemasks, practicing social distancing and isn’t exhibiting any COVID symptoms. DO drink eggnog from silly-looking reindeer-shaped glasses with your eccentric and hygienic adverse in-law who lives in a motor home. DON’T clink your glasses in a toast because it doesn’t maintain a safe social distance from someone you’re glad isn’t a member of your immediate household. (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation)

2. DO bundle up in several layers of outdoor clothing to walk to school on days when temperatures are below zero. DON’T administer whitewashes or other displays of affection as the close contact may increase the risk of disease transmission. DO display novelty lamps that are major awards in your front window to add to the holiday spirit. DON’T invite friends and neighbors into your home so you can gloat over your lamp as welcoming people inside who aren’t part of your household is less COVID safe. DO drive downtown to take in the festive holiday lights with your immediate family. DON’T sit on Santa Claus’ lap to let him know what you want for Christmas because he isn’t wearing a facemask, it’s not safe social distancing, and you don’t know much about this highly questionable hired Santa who looks like he just posted bail. ( A Christmas Story)

3. DON’T travel with your large family and relatives to Paris, France, for the holidays. You’re more likely to get COVID-19 while traveling in busy airports and in major world population centers. But if your family still decides to go, DO stay at home by yourself as isolating yourself from others is the best way to stay protected. DO rig your home with devices and traps for possible intruders because you don’t want to come in contact with those who may unknowingly have the coronavirus. DO attend a holiday concert at the local church and greet your neighbor as long as you wear masks and maintain safe social distancing of six feet. If you accidentally leave your child at home and need to urgently get back to them, DON’T hitchhike to your destination with a polka band from the Midwest as you want to avoid being with strangers in confined spaces and not being able to social distance. DON’T embrace your parents and family when you’re finally reunited with each other because they haven’t yet been tested for COVID-19. (Home Alone)

4. If you do opt to leave home to search for your biological parents, DO travel alone to minimize your exposure but avoid touching any animals that in rare cases can contract COVID-19. DON’T go to New York City since it’s high population may mean more cases of coronavirus and higher transmission rates. DO drop in to have the World’s Best Cup of Coffee but make sure to wear a mask and maintain social distancing from other patrons waiting in the long line. If you need temporary seasonal employment, DO get a job in department store toy section but DON’T yell at Santa or rip off his fake beard because it violates social distancing and his fake beard is actually a facemask. DO go on a date with a coworker but DON’T kiss or hug them until you’ve both been tested for the virus. DON’T encourage large groups of downtown pedestrians to create holiday cheer because they won’t maintain social distancing and it’s difficult to sing when wearing masks. DO sterilize old chewing gum on railings and other highly trafficked public spaces before enjoying. (Elf)

Remember to still enjoy the holidays this season. Just take a bit of extra care and caution to keep yourself and everyone else safe. Limit gatherings to your immediate household, wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, don’t go out if you have symptoms, and always use hand sanitizer after being in public areas.

If you want to learn more about communicating with patients about COVID-19 related matters, read the guide Patient Communication Preferences: The COVID-19 Impact.

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Mike Rigert

Written by Mike Rigert