Tips for a safe and happy holiday season during COVID-19

December 16, 2020

After many months of social distancing, it’s natural to want to
reconnect with loved ones for the holidays. But COVID-19 is still a real danger,
and traditional in-person gatherings can increase the chance of spreading the
virus. Experts recommend connecting in safer ways – especially for pregnant
people and families with babies.

According to recent research in pregnant people with COVID-19:

  • Pregnant people have a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people.
  • In one study, pregnant people with COVID-19 who had symptoms had a 70% higher risk of death compared to non-pregnant people.
  • Pregnant people with COVID-19 may be at higher risk for pregnancy problems, like preterm birth.

Research shows that babies also may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19, including:

  • Babies age 1 and under
  • Preterm babies
  • Babies who have other medical conditions, like a lung condition or heart disease

This year, the safest way to spend the holidays is with people in
your own household. But you can still celebrate the joy of the holidays with
family and friends outside your household by getting creative.

Creative ways to connect

Here are some ideas:

  • Share favorite holiday recipes with family members and friends
    when planning menus.
  • Use a video app to make a recipe, decorate the house or share a holiday
    meal together.
  • Make virtual connections more fun. Try having a contest, like the most
    creative table setting, decorations or sweaters. Or write down things you are
    grateful for and share them with your family.
  • Team up with loved ones online to organize a food drive or gift
    drive for those in need.
  • Set a time to call a friend and shop online together for holiday
  • Call a few people you care about each week, especially if they are
    living alone or if you haven’t talked in a long time.
  • Gather ideas to plan a future celebration for a time when it might
    be safer. Perhaps an outdoor “holiday in July” celebration could work!
  • Remind each other that this is temporary. Next year, the holidays
    will probably be brighter.

If you’re gathering with others

It’s safest to stay at home with people from your own household
this holiday season. But if you’re planning to attend a holiday gathering at
someone else’s home, here are some safety tips:

  • Discuss ahead of time whether other guests have been following strict
    safety measures.
  • Consider bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Wear a mask except when eating or drinking.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Ask if the person preparing the food is wearing a mask, and avoid
    areas where food is being prepared.

If you’re planning to host people from outside your household,
here are more safety tips:

  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time. Talk about whether they have been following strict safety measures. If possible, ask guests to avoid contact with people outside their households for 14 days before the gathering. Set safety expectations for the gathering, including wearing masks.
  • If weather permits have a small, socially distanced meal outside.
  • If you’re inside, open the windows.
  • Arrange tables and chairs six feet apart for those not in the same household.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces often.
  • Provide plenty of soap and single-use towels for handwashing.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Keep in mind that alcohol can affect people’s judgment and make it difficult to follow safety measures. And if you’re pregnant, no amount of alcohol is safe to drink.

Practice basic safety measures

Always follow these general COVID-19 safety and social distancing

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t use soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Limit contact with other people as much as possible.
  • If you need to go out or interact with others:
    • Wear a cloth face cover or a facemask over your nose and mouth.
    • Keep at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Stay away from people who are not wearing a mask.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you frequently touch. 
  • Avoid activities that make safety measures and social distancing difficult.

Learn more about COVID-19 and pregnancy