Dec 10, 2020 | COVID-19 | Share:
Should I get together with out of town family to celebrate Christmas this year?
Many of us typically travel during the Christmas season to spend time with our loved ones who live out of town. But Dr. McGregor says, “As hard as it is to miss out on time with loved ones this year, it's safest to celebrate the holiday with those in your household and limit time with out of town relatives.”
What are some safe ways to exchange gifts with family and friends, especially older relatives?
Gift-giving is an essential part of the Christmas season. But you don’t want to risk giving your loved ones COVID-19 as well. To keep your friends, family, and older relatives safe, Dr. McGregor suggests that you limit the risk of exposure by minimizing contact when giving gifts. She says, “Send your loved one a gift in the mail or leave gifts on the front porch or in the mailbox for a surprise.”
Do I need to put my Amazon packages in quarantine before I open them?
In the early days of the pandemic, everyone was wiping down their groceries and placing mail and packages in quarantine for a few days. Since the virus doesn’t live very long on surfaces, Dr. McGregor says, “No, you don’t need to quarantine your deliveries. But do practice good hand hygiene after handling your packages."
Is Santa going to get COVID-19 as he delivers presents around the world?
Dr. McGregor just found out some good news about Santa this year. She says, “Santa will definitely not get COVID-19 as he delivers presents this year. He and the elves have first dibs on the new vaccine.”
What are some safe ways I can celebrate Christmas with my coworkers? Should we have an office Christmas party?
Office Christmas parties are one of the highlights of the holiday season. Your office Christmas party doesn’t have to be canceled this year, but Dr. McGregor says there are some important things to keep in mind if you do choose to celebrate. “If you are going to have an office Christmas party there are a few things to remember. Please stay home if you are feeling sick. Prioritize smaller gatherings, outdoor venues, social distancing, wearing your mask, and keeping your hands clean.”
Is our small-town Christmas parade safe to attend or participate in?
Just about every community in the Birmingham area has a beloved Christmas parade. If you’re wanting to participate or attend your local Christmas parade, Dr. McGregor has some good news for you. “Outdoor activities are preferred to indoor activities, so a parade might be a fun family activity for you this year. It may be a good idea to check with the event organizers to see what COVID safety measures are in place before attending, such as mask and social distancing requirements.”
We usually bake Christmas cookies for our neighbors. Is it still safe to do this, or am I going to risk giving them COVID?
If Christmas cookie deliveries are part of your family’s Christmas traditions, you don’t have to take a break this year. Whether you want to load your neighbors down with a dozen varieties of cookies or some pretzels dipped in chocolate, Dr. McGregor says, “It’s generally safe to bake cookies for your neighbors as long as you aren’t sick and you keep your hands clean.” When you’re delivering your baked treats, consider a contactless drop-off on the front porch or in the mailbox.
Can my kids play with their friends over the Christmas break?
From the moment your kids get off the bus on that last day of school, they're probably going to want to play with their friends. Dr. McGregor advises parents, “This one is up to you. But you should definitely consider emphasizing outside play, masks, and good hand hygiene.” Outdoor activities such as riding bikes or jumping on the trampoline are going to be lower-risk than an indoor playdate.
Should I attend my church's Christmas Eve service with my family?
Many families we know prioritize attending church on Christmas Eve. If you’re hoping to attend your church’s Christmas Eve services this year, Dr. McGregor suggests, “Consider if your church is practicing COVID safety measures before attending.” If you’re at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, she says, “You could also consider online services this year.” Many local churches are offering in-person and online options for Christmas Eve worship services.
Is it safe to get pictures with Santa this year?
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s safe to get pictures with Santa this year, the answer is complicated. Dr. McGregor says, “I've seen lots of creative ways plexiglass barriers that have been used for pictures with Santa, however, those shared surfaces are a great place for all sorts of infection to spread. Just remember it is safest to avoid crowds and limit contact with those outside your home.”
How can I prevent cracking and dryness in my hands since I'm washing my hands so much?
Good hand hygiene is important for preventing all kinds of illnesses, including COVID-19. But all that handwashing, especially in the cooler months, can lead to some dry, cracked hands. Dr. McGregor suggests you add one more step to your handwashing routine. “Apply an emollient or good moisturizer to your hands after each wash.” Wash, dry, and moisturize for healthy hands this winter.
What are some safe things I can do to celebrate Christmas with my family this year?
While COVID-19 has changed so many things about our daily life, there are still many things you can do to celebrate Christmas safely with your family. Dr. McGregor suggests the following ideas:
- Plan to utilize FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype, or Zoom to share in holiday traditions and celebrations with those you love
- Attend online worship services and light candles in your home
- Read special Christmas stories together as a family
- Share a special meal with those in your home
What's one thing we shouldn't forget this Christmas with all of the COVID news?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed this year by all of the COVID-related news. 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. Dr. McGregor says that we should remember, “Despite the illness, grief, isolation, loneliness, hopelessness, and fear that has marked this year, Christmas is a beautiful reminder of the love of God for the world, the presence of God with us and the hope of new life in Him.”
When Dr. Elle McGregor isn't seeing patients at MedHelp Trussville this holiday season, you can find her decorating Christmas cookies or watching Christmas movies with her family. (The Grinch is her favorite.) This Christmas, she's especially looking forward to attending her church's Nine Lessons in Carols service.