Coping Through the Holidays During a Pandemic

Kenneth Knowles, MD
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Knowles, MDNovember 10th, 2020
Grandparent time

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made 2020 an incredibly difficult year for many people, both physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. While the holidays may seem like they’d be the ideal escape from reality—at least for a few weeks—the fact remains that COVID-19 is still a very present danger, which means that we’ll all need to adjust our holiday plans accordingly in order to remain safe.

At DispatchHealth, we want our neighbors to still be able to enjoy the holidays as much as they possibly can, even if celebrations look a little different than they have in the past. With that in mind, we’ve put together some ideas for how to cope through the holidays during a pandemic (of course, you should still follow any applicable rules and regulations). Whether you’re choosing to spend time with your loved ones in person or from a distance, we hope that these tips help you make the most of the upcoming holiday season.

Celebrating In Person

If you and your extended family are still planning to get together in person, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:

  • Limit the number of people attending. If you’re used to getting all of the kids and grandkids together at your home each year, it can be tough to imagine cutting down that number, but doing so could significantly reduce the number of germs that everyone is exposed to throughout the day.
  • Don’t travel to or from areas with high infection rates. Certain areas of the country are experiencing higher COVID-19 rates than others, so if you live in one of those communities, you’ll want to avoid potentially exposing your family members to COVID-19 or any other germs you might have. Likewise, staying away from an area with a high infection rate could protect you and anyone whom you come into contact with following the visit.
  • Plan an outdoor celebration. If you live in an area where temperatures remain pleasant into the winter months, you may want to consider having your holiday dinner outside. Or, if it’s too chilly to do that, try to at least open some windows or doors during your celebration to increase ventilation.
  • Give yourselves a time limit. For many families, it’s common for holiday celebrations to last all day and well into the evening hours. Unfortunately, the longer you’re around other people, the greater your chance of spreading COVID-19. This year, try not to continue mingling too long after your holiday meal is over.
  • Stay safe. It can be tempting to try to forget about COVID-19 while you’re around the ones you love, but make an effort to keep up with washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and social distancing as much as possible during your family gathering. And if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if there’s any chance that you could have been exposed to the virus within two weeks prior to the holiday, you should sit this one out.

Celebrating From a Distance

If you’ve decided that you’d rather continue social distancing, don’t despair—there are still a number of ways for you to have an enjoyable holiday season:

  • Decorate your home. Just because you’re not having the usual crew over for a holiday doesn’t mean that you need to ignore the day completely. Make it a point to put out all of the decorations that you normally would, and you’ll be feeling festive in no time at all.
  • Keep an eye out for socially distanced events. Many local organizations are putting their creativity on full display and coming up with ways to enjoy holiday traditions from a safe distance. For instance, some groups are arranging drive-in movie nights and screening holiday favorites. Who knows—it might even become one of your new favorite traditions.
  • Deliver meals to your family and friends. Food is often a huge part of family celebrations, and it might not feel like a holiday without your favorite goodies to munch on. If you’re the designated chef, consider cooking your holiday meal as usual and then delivering it to your loved ones while maintaining social distancing.
  • Enjoy a virtual dinner. Arrange a time for all of your loved ones to sit down for dinner and video chat with each other from their respective homes. And if your family and friends live too far away to make food drop-offs feasible, you could share recipes ahead of time so that everyone’s still enjoying the same foods at the same time.

At-Home Treatment From DispatchHealth


If you or any of your family members start feeling ill throughout the holiday season, you can turn to DispatchHealth for in-home care. We even provide testing and treatment for

COVID-19, if needed.

Contact us today to request a visit.


DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.

Sources referenced in this article:

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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