The holidays are officially upon us. You probably know some people who are planning to forge ahead with their usual celebratory plans; others who are planning to stay entirely in their home family unit; and still others who are hoping for some kind of middle ground. What are the experts saying? Can we have turkey in pandemic times? (Or, you know, turducken, or whatever?)
Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter: WWDFD? (“What would Dr. Fauci do?”)
He tells us he’s going to have Thanksgiving at home with his wife. His three adult children, who live in different states, will be staying put this year, so they don’t bring the risks of travel to the Fauci family table.
So there’s that. The absolute safest way to do holidays this year is to enjoy a meal with the people who live in your house (or the ones you’re already podded up with), and send your love to the extended clan via Zoom. Disappointed, much? So are we.
That said, as with everything these days, there’s the absolute safest way to do things, and then there are ways to make the less-safe things a little bit safer. If you do want to open things up to a larger group, consider: Can you eat outside? That would help. (Worried it’ll be too cold by the end of the month? Do an early Thanksgiving outside right now.)
If outdoors isn’t an option, consider how to mitigate the risks everyone brings into the house. Can people quarantine for two weeks beforehand and then come together? If that’s impossible, consider a shorter quarantine period, like 5-7 days, followed by testing for everyone. (Of course, remember that a negative test still isn’t a guarantee.)
Once you’re together, make an effort to wear masks as much as possible, enforce handwashing before sitting down to eat, do as much distancing as you can manage (separate tables for separate family units would be ideal!), and keep all the windows open. You know, the works. (And yes, tell the guests to bring an extra layer this year.)
Travel inevitably brings with it more risk, but this handy interactive tool from The Washington Post offers expert guidance on how to make your trip as safe as possible.
Of course, even if you’re careful while traveling (or hosting travelers from elsewhere), there’s the chance that an infection spreads—and you could then bring it with you into your community. (We all remember that wedding in Maine.) And really, you don’t want to be that person, do you? To mitigate this risk, it’s recommended that you quarantine for 14 days before resuming your regular activities. Unfortunately, that includes school, if your kids are back in-person: Be sure to check the school’s requirements before you make any plans, since travel might mean you have to keep the kids home for two weeks upon your return.
All of this is a big pain, we know. So our two cents—since you asked—is to get creative with how you connect with loved ones this year (recipe exchange + virtual dinner + game night, anyone?), hunker down, and stay close to home. If you’re inviting friends over, keep it cozy and limited to others whose Covid precautions you know and trust. We know staying home isn’t possible for everyone, but the more we all take one for the team, the more likely we’ll be able to enjoy our usual festivities (and then some!) next year.
“Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter: WWDFD? ('What would Dr. Fauci do?')”
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