You know Christmas is coming when you hear the warbly sounds of someone defrosting. She is ready to tell you how all she wants for Christmas is… for you to celebrate Christmas responsibly. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, regardless of how people around you act. 

This year, while we are not trapped in a lockdown and have hopefully been vaccinated, it is still important to plan to celebrate Christmas responsibly. We want Santa and presents, and not for the virus to present itself in multiple variants. Speaking of presents, you can opt for Christmas decor ideas that are sustainable.

Here are 5 ways to have holiday cheer and be merry during the festive season, while doing your best to keep the virus away: 

1) Have smaller social gatherings 

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Christmas may be a time for your large extended family to meet, or for friends you have not seen in ages to have time to catch up altogether at once. It is the party season, where people gather to send the year off in style.

This year, consider forgoing the large parties and big family gatherings. Instead, opt for meeting your relatives and friends in smaller groups of 4 or 5 to celebrate or catch up. It is time to choose who your favourite relatives/ friends are, and who you would really rather see and celebrate Christmas instead.

 Jokes aside, while not completely virus-proof, smaller gatherings will be able to help you have more control over things like table spacing and not shouting over one another to be heard. 

You would also be able to have better conversations with the people you are meeting with, which is a nice bonus.

2) Celebrate Christmas in homes or book a private space in advance 

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Going out in public to meet can be nerve-wrecking, especially if you are unsure if all waitstaff are vaccinated. Even worse, they may be the kind of eatery or shop that allows people to walk in as they please, without checking their temperature or vaccination status.

For your peace of mind, consider meeting in someone’s home instead. Perhaps organise a barbeque or a hotpot session, and relax with the people you love in a comfortable atmosphere. 

If you prefer to go out instead, make sure to choose a place that is clear about how much they prioritise your healthy and safety (as well as those of their staff). If they have private dining booths or rooms, even better. Try to book one ahead of time to avoid being in close contact with too many people.

3) Use a COVID self-test kit once every few days 

After almost two years of having our lives upended by lockdowns, it is understandable that we want to let loose a little. Before that, though, make sure to get several COVID self-test kits to keep at home.

To do your part in keeping the nation safe, it is best to test yourself once every few days. Naturally, if you test positive, even if you are asymptomatic, do not go out at all. You do not want to feel guilty for giving grandma the virus for sure. 

4) Clean your hands often, sanitise things you touch, mask up as much as possible

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During the holiday season, make sure to continue doing basic hygiene practices. Simple habits such as washing your hands properly (for the length of the Happy Birthday song) and frequently make a difference. Bring out the hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes, and spare masks when you go out just to be safe. 

When done eating, make sure to wipe your face and wear the mask immediately. Every little bit helps to keep the virus away, and a mild inconvenience is better than getting the virus and its side effects.

5) Avoid going out to celebrate Christmas if you feel unwell in any way 

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Finally, should you feel unwell in any way – even in the very hour before you are due to go out – make sure to do the right thing by cancelling the gathering on your end. 

While you may not test positive yet, it is also prudent to look after your body’s health and rest when your body sends signals that you need to. The whole world may be preoccupied with this virus, but other contagious diseases also exist, such as the flu.

If not anything else, what 2020 and 2021 should have taught us is that we must never take our body’s health for granted. It is also important to continually prioritise and optimise our body’s health, as well as that of others. Caring for others is the very epitome of having Christmas spirit.

Have a safe and healthy Christmas, everyone.