Celebrating the holidays in person during the pandemic

The holidays at home, with a smaller circle, is the best way to celebrate and stay safe

Emily Paulin, Opinions Writer

Despite the importance of family and friends during the holidays, our celebrations will have to look different this year due to the ongoing global pandemic. This year, there really is no place like home for the holidays.

The best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep your family safe is by celebrating in-person only with your immediate household, the people you have been with during quarantine. To celebrate with extended family, virtual gatherings are best, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, for many people, that is not the plan. In an Instagram poll answered by about 300 students, I found that about 28% of respondents celebrated Thanksgiving with someone outside of their household and 35% plan on celebrating the holidays in-person with someone outside of their household. 

Holiday gatherings this year are difficult to have while maintaining guidelines, but the guidelines are important to the safety of both families and the community as a whole. The CDC recommends that families celebrate the holidays with no one outside of their household in-person. Among other guidelines, if having a gathering, New Jersey requires them to be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 

However, renewing connections with family and friends is an important part of the holidays. So what’s the solution? This year, the decision will be extremely important for each family. Have a discussion about the potential risks and values of having these celebrations before making a decision. Here are some prompts that might help you have this discussion:

  • Are any potential guests at higher risk for complications?
  • Is an in-person gathering worth the risk?
  • Could we celebrate in-person at a later time instead?
  • What are some alternatives to celebrating in person? 
  • How could we continue holiday traditions in a different way?  
  • What will a gathering look like if we do have one? (recommendations here)
  • How can we keep guests safe? 

This year, there really is no place like home for the holidays.