Celebrating this holiday season? Do it safely.

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John Harrison

If you don’t want Covid-19 showing up under your Christmas tree this year, celebrate safely.

The holidays are upon us once again and we’ve been thrown a bit of a curveball this time around. The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the winter in full force, guns blazing, and ready to stand in the way of Santa Claus descending down the empty, dark chimney with a satchel of presents.

It may not be official, but Santa will surely be masked up this year as he heads into hundreds of millions of homes across the world. You can pretty much forget all about the cookies and milk tradition — That’s a spreader, and the reindeer could have underlying health issues.

The bottom line is this: The hopes and dreams of having a regular holiday with family and friends has been thrown out the window due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the lights are off completely. I don’t advise you to snuggle close with older relatives on the couch. I wouldn’t even suggest throwing parties like families normally do. However, even with local health guidelines, there are still ways to celebrate safely with family, and they are relatively simple preparation tips.

Quarantining for at least ten days before the intended get-together could be the most effective way to prepare, as the CDC estimates that COVID-19 symptoms usually show within a two to 14 day window. This is probably the most challenging option, because people have different jobs with different levels of interaction with the public, shopping is an essential task, and others just can’t stand the friendly confines of their home.

If that course of action isn’t feasible, figure out the whereabouts of the people you will be joining for the celebration, or test a handful of days before just to stay on the safe side.

If you really want to form a holiday get-together, an outdoor event could be another alternative. The weather will always be in the “to be determined” category, but if it’s not raining and there’s no storm headed your way, why not? It would be easier to handle wearing masks and social distancing. If it’s inside, be sure to take temperatures at the door to ensure that no one has a fever.

Speaking of mask-wearing, that has been confirmed as one of the most effective ways to stop transmission of the virus to other people. I can’t imagine that factual statement will all of a sudden stop being factual at your holiday event.

The guidelines should be followed, but that won’t stop people from sticking with their old ways. That’s fine, but it can’t be stressed enough how safe and prepared you have to be if you do decide to host or attend a holiday event.

Be safe — Do your part to stop the spread of the virus. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I know, that’s a phrase that I’ve heard many times recently as well, but it’s true. Be responsible human beings and prepare ahead of time, before you make a careless decision that could possibly put lives at risk.

As Santa lifts off from his final house of the night, his words, “to all a good night” will slightly be muffled because of the mask covering his face. But that’s a good thing — He’ll be protecting lives. You should follow his lead.