10/28/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

Just like everything else in 2020, our holidays aren’t going to be the same! If your family gatherings involve travel, you may not be able to make it this year. And even if your get-togethers are closer to home, it may be too cold ­– or just plain impractical ­­– to move everything outside; meals, football watching, and gift opening, and so on.

That’s why it’s so important to start planning and managing expectations now. Here are some tips for safe holiday gatherings with loved ones this year.

1. Entertain Responsibly

Gatherings should remain small to allow appropriate social distancing. They should be held outdoors, if possible. If you have to remain inside, open windows and doors for maximum ventilation (remind guests to bundle up!). Ask everyone to remain masked until it’s time to eat. Also, remind them to wash their hands frequently.

2. Plan Location Carefully

Be aware of the rate of infection in the location of the event. You need to also consider the cities where out-of-town guests are coming from. Higher numbers of cases in those areas can increase the risk of someone unknowingly bringing the virus to the celebration and spreading it among guests.

3. Check Out Guests Thoroughly

If you’re hosting, tactfully ask guests if they’ve been practicing social distancing and mask wearing. Discover if they’ve traveled recently or attended large functions. To really have safe holiday gatherings, you may even request those attending your event to be tested and/or isolate before the event.

4. Travel Safely

If you’re traveling to an event, try to restrict your travel to a short car ride with only people from your household in the car. Try to avoid stops along the way where you may be exposed.

5. Communicate Openly

Most importantly, communicate with everyone you usually invite as early as possible. Considering the many factors involved, you may need to pare down the invitation list. It may also make sense to skip the holiday gatherings altogether this year. Just remember that hurt feelings will likely heal in time, but your health may not!

Find CDC guidelines.

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over 10 years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones