I know most of us didn’t think we’d be here — preparing for the holiday season while facing rising COVID-19 cases. No matter what you’re celebrating — Diwali, Thanksgiving, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or New Year’s — the holidays will look different this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be celebratory and filled with love.
Many people are already having conversations about what their holidays will look like this year and I want to encourage continued communication. Talk to those who you typically celebrate with ahead of time, and discuss risks and expectations. Each person may have different risk factors, like a weakened immune system or family member who may be at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Those at a higher risk should strongly consider adjusting their celebrations this year (read more on how to do that below). Having those open conversations will help everyone come to an agreement on how you’ll celebrate this year and be more comfortable during your celebration, however it looks.
Everyone is dealing with different family considerations, such as an elderly grandparent or family member with an underlying disease, and it’s an important reminder that you don’t know what other households are considering. Everyone is making decisions that are best for them and the holidays may look different for each family this year. Respect their decisions and don’t pressure or judge others.
No matter how you celebrate holidays this year, remember COVID-19 is still in our environment so precautions need to be taken whenever possible — wear a mask, maintain distance from others as much as possible and wash hands frequently.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided considerations that are meant to supplement any state, local, territorial or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations. Their considerations include:
Wisconsin is currently one of the states with the highest community spread of COVID-19, so it’s important to follow the recommendations of our local health departments. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) provided guidance for celebrating the holidays this year, which includes:
For more information and considerations, visit the Wisconsin DHS website where they have a decision tool for individuals and families.
COVID-19 has forced us to adapt and get creative in nearly every aspect of our lives — from work and school, to birthday celebrations and more. The holidays can be a part of those changes. While being together physically may not be an option for your family, there are plenty of ways to connect virtually to spread holiday joy.
The Wisconsin DHS provides ideas on their website for a safer holiday celebration, which include:
People are being more creative than ever and I’ve heard so many great ideas for making this holiday unique and celebratory, including:
This year’s holidays may look different, but I hope with these recommendations and a little creativity, they can still feel celebratory and filled with love.
Accidents still happen and all of these considerations may lead to questions. Should anything come up related to your child’s health, please do not hesitate to call your child’s doctor’s office. If they don’t have a doctor, visit our website or impactinc.org/impact-2-1-1. You can also call 2-1-1, where an operator can direct you to the nearest community health clinic or other needed resources.