Picture accompanying ANA Illinois tips on Celebrating the Holidays safely

With Thanksgiving directly behind us and the December holidays coming up fast, traveling is on many people’s minds. While everyone likes being with their families and enjoying a sense of togetherness during the holidays, the COVID-19 pandemic is making it a little difficult to do both in-person this year. For those who are unsure how they should approach seeing family and traveling, the Center for Disease Control has a number of recommendations. Overall, the organization states that “Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread.” Read on for some advice from ANA-IL for ways to celebrate the holidays safely! 

Virtual Holiday Fun

While COVID-19 has put serious limits on celebrating in groups, that doesn’t mean that individuals should forgo any kind of celebration. Member Dr. Karen Kelly suggested a number of fun holiday activities. 

“There is plenty to do, even without gathering! You can watch your favorite movies, take a ride around the area where you live, drive through a beautiful park, play classic games like Monopoly and Scrabble, read a new book or re-read a favorite. You can also take a long walk in the morning, and breakfast will taste even better!”

Member Pam Brown added “My family has a marshmallow snowball fight. We also use fuzzy soft balls to throw at each other.”

Lastly, member Debi Savage suggests that you “Celebrate in-person with those you live with, and   Skype/Zoom/call those you normally celebrate with to chat.  If you are the cook, consider cooking extra and taking the extra to your family’s house. You don’t have to go in! You can put the food outside their door, ring the doorbell, and stay back with a mask on to chat from a distance.”

Suggestions for Traveling

While both the CDC and ANA-Illinois suggest that travel should be eliminated or kept to a minimum during the holiday season and that gathering in large groups should be avoided, we realize that sometimes travel is necessary and that some individuals will still choose to gather. Elizabeth Aquino, ANA-Illinois President, suggests following these precautions: 

“If you must travel or gather with a group over the holidays, try to congregate in an open space where you can still social distance as much as possible. If you can be outside that’s even better, heat lamps or fire pits and dressing in layers can be used if it’s cold outside. Wear your mask appropriately and as much as possible, especially when speaking to others. Make sure to bring your own hand sanitizer and use it frequently when unable to wash your hands. Avoid hugging or touching others. Be respectful of others’ personal spaces. Say something when you see someone not complying with best practices to keep themselves and others safe.”

ANA-Illinois Suggestions for Coping with a Difficult Time

At American Nurses Association Illinois, we understand that many people are experiencing difficulties. While the holidays are normally a time in which individuals can be with family and relieve stress, we once again ask that you practice precautions and celebrate responsibly. Lastly, member Pam Brown suggests doing the following with your spare time over the holidays: 

“Spend time on your mental health. Find fun things to do every day, and keep in touch with others by Facetime or other technology. Find a good book to read or craft/art projects that interest you. Give to others in need through food banks or other charities. Provide Christmas presents for foster kids or donate any way that you can. Remember, that in addition to keeping yourself physically healthy, mental health is important too!”