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How to safely host guests during this holiday season

How to safely host guests during this holiday season

It’s no secret that this year’s holiday season may look different than it normally does. While many people will adopt a more-cautious-than-usual approach to hosting, you can still make this holiday season memorable, fun and safe. Make health the main priority by encouraging masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer. Take early precautions so that the focus can be on making memories with your loved ones. Rest assured, the memories made this year won’t be forgotten any time soon! With that goal in mind, here’s how you can safely host guests during this unusual holiday season.    

Take a more all-encompassing role

Hosting maven Martha Stewart reports that many hosts are planning to take a more all-encompassing role during holiday festivities to keep germs from spreading. Consider plans for being the chef, server and bartender. Although it may involve more work up front, it’s not impossible to navigate the “new normal.” 

Keep invites to fewer than three households (including the host’s own family)

While the three-household guest list is merely a suggestion, the risk can vary greatly  depending on how large the families are. Adding guests to a closed home increases risk and introduces the chance that they could be traveling from long destinations. 

Push for outside celebrations

Are you able to host Thanksgiving and holidays as an al fresco-style meal? Air supply and ventilation can minimize risks to germs. Even if you’re outside, maintain a safe social distance, if possible. And if you’re not able to celebrate outside, keep the windows open to keep air flow moving.

Give guests a virtual option

Do you have loved ones who are unable to attend the festivities in person? Give them an option to attend virtually! You’ll help everyone feel included – and safe. And Thanksgiving hosts that end up having a virtual-only event are in good company. The study found that 40 percent of respondents plan to host a virtual-only gathering instead of welcoming guests in their homes. 

Sharing is NOT caring

For this year, avoid having shared utensils, buffets and DIY stations. Having a dinner thought out in advance, including how people obtain their food, can prevent the need for people to walk around or share plates. 

Maintain holiday cheer

Even though holidays are undoubtedly going to look different this year, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep at least one sense of normalcy. Decorate as you normally would. Use your typical dinnerware, maintain traditional dishes and keep your decor the same. Even if you don’t plan to host a large gathering of friends and family, having your home decorated can spread a sense of holiday cheer even during unprecedented times. 

Be aware of the time

Experts say that the risk of infection can increase with the amount of time one spends in close contact with others who don’t live in the same household. Take stock of how long you plan to have guests and if it’s usually an all-day gathering, consider keeping things to a two-hour minimum for this year only. 

To mitigate risks, it’s time to start planning for your Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings now. Don’t let your guard down just because it’s family. Although the thought of altering your normal holiday celebrations is a buzzkill, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Planning early and proceeding with an abundance of caution now means your loved ones stay safe and healthy for many more years of holidays to come.