Holiday traditions are something that many of us look forward to every year. We love being able to spend time with family and friends, cook and prepare delicious meals, and partake in fun activities all season long.
However, this year, the coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to many holiday celebrations. Instead of enjoying the usual festivities, many senior citizens might be feeling discouraged that they are unable to see loved ones in person and take part in family traditions. Because older adults are included in the group of individuals who are at a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, it might be best to sit out on family gatherings this year, especially if they are large.
But with all of this said, the reality that we are in a current pandemic does not mean that you cannot enjoy the holidays. You can still have a great time this holiday season, just in new and different ways. Here are four suggestions you will want to consider:
1. Have a virtual dinner party.
People all over the world, of all ages, have been connecting with one another through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom over the last several months. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be prevalent today, video chatting with loved ones is still one of the best ways to make sure that both you and others remain safe.
With the holidays approaching, many families are used to having large meals together. This year try celebrating differently through video chat. For example, if you were to host (or simply attend) a virtual dinner party, it might be fun to cook a meal for you and/or the people in your household, and then eat “together” with friends and family.
It all depends on what works best for everyone who will be on the call, so you may want to coordinate with them ahead of time. If you do not have too much experience with technology, you may want to ask another family member if they can help you set up your laptop or tablet so that everything runs smoothly.
To make it feel like loved ones are really at your dinner table, put your laptop or tablet on the table to “share” a meal with them so that you can still experience the feeling of having everyone over for dinner. Also, spend time playing games together and just talking with one another. Try to do what you normally would at a holiday get-together, even though things are not-so-normal.
2. Host an outdoor dinner party (with minimal guests).
If you usually have a large Thanksgiving dinner at your home and are slowly wanting to branch out from virtual-only events, try to modify Thanksgiving by having an outdoor dinner only with family and friends who live in your community, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests. However, experts still encourage people to continue social distancing and wearing a mask at gatherings and cookouts.
First, if there is anyone coming to your dinner party who has been exposed to COVID-19, or they are showing symptoms of COVID-19, it is best if they do not attend. Make sure that everyone washes their hands before and after serving food, as well as before and after eating. Have guests bring their own food, or limit the number of people who are serving food at the get-together. Also, make sure that high-touch areas are being disinfected regularly before, during, and after hosting guests.
3. Drop off traditional holiday dishes to family and friends.
Do your grandchildren love your special holiday desserts? Are your Christmas cookies the best in your family’s opinion? You can still prepare food for them and even ship them food.
You can also place individual portions into containers and safely drop them off at your friend’s and family’s residences without making any contact. This way, they can enjoy a piece of the holidays at their own home.
To make things even more fun for your loved ones, consider giving them the recipe for some of your dishes. They might love recreating these at home, and it can be exciting to call them later and ask them how the dish turned out!
4. Participate in local outdoor activities that are safe.
If you and your family want to get out of the house for a little bit during the holiday season, you can safely participate in local activities. Make sure not to go anywhere that is too crowded, and of course, wear a mask and social distance. Other than this, try to do as many activities as you can at home.
However, if you know your family will be heading to a location where there are a lot of activities happening, call ahead of time to ask the location when they are the least busy. This way, you reduce everyone’s risk of spending time in a crowded area where the coronavirus has more of a chance of spreading from person to person.
5. Get ready to have a great time!
The holidays are meant to be a time where you laugh, smile, and have fun with the people you love. Whether you are doing everything virtually, or you are having hybrid events, it is important to make the most out of your time with others. Overall, safety should be your first priority, so whatever you choose to do, make sure that you are at a low risk of getting infected and infecting others.
Here at The Phoenix at Delray, we are still hosting fun events for our active seniors, but we are also making sure they stay safe. If you want to learn about our community and how we are handling everything, please contact us. Also, schedule a tour with us if you want to experience what The Phoenix at Delray is like and how we make independent living great for our residents.
1. “Older Adults and COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html. Accessed 20 October 2020.
2. Whitney, Alyse. “Virtual Dinner Parties Are the Best Way to Bring People Together Right Now.” The Spruce Eats, https://www.thespruceeats.com/hosting-a-virtual-dinner-party-4800754. Accessed 20 October 2020.
3. “COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#thanksgiving. Accessed 20 October 2020.
4. “Shipping Homemade Holiday Foods.” Food Network, https://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/articles/shipping-homemade-holiday-foods. Accessed 21 October 2020.