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How Can We Celebrate the Holidays in a Pandemic?

From gifting to traveling, here are five things to consider as we enter the 2020 holiday season

Traditions. It's what many families look forward to the most during the holidays. But, just like the rest of 2020, the 2020 holiday season will be anything but traditional. Travel advisories and other coronavirus restrictions may make these holidays quieter and more intimate than years past.

And although everyone is experiencing this pandemic, not everyone is experiencing it in the same way – which means that some extended families may have different opinions about whether to adjust plans. The good news is that 2020 has seen exemplary and creative ways to celebrate during the pandemic.

Whether your family is planning a new type of celebration or will keep the merriment the same, following are a few tips to help keep the 'happy' in 'happy holidays.'

Start something new

With all that is changing in 2020, perhaps this is the year for starting new traditions with your loved ones. Traditions, by definition, are repeated rituals that provide a sense of identity and help tell the story of your family. Consider what you’ve held most precious this year and use that as the basis of your storied tradition. For example, did you start a new hobby or new cooking technique, find a way to celebrate and highlight that this year.

Many experts suggest focusing on gratitude during difficult times. This season, consider creating a space to acknowledge gratitude or happiness with your immediate or extended family. Each day, write down something that makes you happy and place it in a jar or tape it in a journal, and read them aloud as a family on Dec. 31, 2020.

Or make new memories around familiar holiday symbols. For example, hold a sleepover in front of your Christmas tree or menorah, and the glow of the soft lights can illuminate your family game night.

Holiday travel tips

Keep in mind that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, and most localities are urging us to avoid nonessential travel to high-risk destinations (as if “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house” wasn’t considered high-risk!) Travelers at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to high-risk destinations.

If you’re traveling to see loved ones, be clear on your approach – what will change from years past and what will stay the same? If you have any expectations about people wearing face masks or hugging, let your opinions be known.

For example, consider staying in a hotel versus at your parents’ home to help calm fears, and ensure you’re comfortable with how the host intends to serve the meal. Being transparent at the outset will help ease any uncomfortable moments while you gather in person.

When you plan your travel, make sure your home is protected and looks lived in – such as having an automated light show when you're away and be sure to stop the mail. More tips on how to safeguard your home are available here. And as always, review the travel rules and restrictions at your destination and stay informed, as they could evolve.

Entertaining in comfort

For those who plan to gather in small groups inside, let your guests know your plans on where you will be gathering, and your expectation of mask wearing and social distancing. In fact, consider having extra face coverings on hand for your guests should someone forget theirs.

In addition to wearing a face covering or mask, homeowners may wish to update their standard  with an electric air cleaner that can capture the majority of airborne particles passing through the filter and offers a low-maintenance solution because it has no filters to replace. Professional HVAC installers can also recommend popular solutions, such as UV air purifiers or ventilation products, via contactless or socially distanced appointments.

If you’re able to open windows, not only can you increase airflow but you’ll also help keep your home comfortable as your guests’ body heat warms up the space. If you live in a colder climate, consider using a smart thermostat with smart room sensors that can deliver the right temperature to your party room during your event.

A gift for the person who has everything

You may not know your neighbors very well, but many of them could be dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety and need a helping hand or a smile. You can be a good neighbor and still social distance. Consider raking their leaves or shoveling their driveway. Or deliver a homemade card or cookies to show you care. Or ask them if your kids can write them a special holiday message in chalk on their sidewalk or driveway. Small gestures can make a big difference in your community.

Holiday hug

As families spend more time in their homes, they also have been looking for new ways to protect it. Increasingly, our customers have been installing water leak detectors, which is another great gift to give the person who has everything. For one of our customers, adding a Resideo Water Leak Detector helped save their Christmas; read more about it at: The Great Christmas Flood That Never Happened.

Shop for a purpose

Since many fundraising events were canceled this year, there are countless charities and foundations in need of meeting. While many people won’t be heading out to shop for Black Friday, consider making “Giving Tuesday” your new tradition.

For more tips to stay happy and healthy this season, check out this article about low- and high-tech ways to beat the ‘winter blues.’ For more information about keeping a safe, comfortable and efficient home during the coronavirus, check out this Bound to Your Home article.