Seven months since the world had COVID-19, virologists and government officials continue to warn people against holding social gatherings. In fact, people shouldn’t have parties at all, given that such events always involve guests crammed together and passing around a single plate. But still, nothing can really disrupt the spirit of the holidays. Despite the risks, many people will surely still hold a Christmas party.

It may not be like the one we’re used to, but it’s a party all the same. Families and relatives will gather, and gift-giving games will take place. How do you ensure a risk-free Christmas party while still having fun then?

The ugly truth is that none of us can stop the risk of COVID-19 during a gathering. Hence, the World Health Organization advises a risk-based approach to planning a party. Organizers must take extra precautions and impose certain rules to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

If you’re also holding a Christmas party this year, here are the extra steps you have to take to ensure a healthy but fun event:

  1. Stay Outdoors

Planning to invite everyone over at home? Use your outdoor spaces to hold the party. Outside, the virus is less likely to spread because it won’t be contained in a high-traffic room. Plus, partying outside the house lets you shorten your guest list. The fewer people will be around, the safer the party will be.

  1. Invite Only Those You Can Trust

If you have an aunt or uncle that protests against mask-wearing and social distancing, it’s best to keep them off your party, no matter how much you or your parents adore them. You might earn a nagging from not inviting them over, but these days, you can’t afford guests who disregard health protocols. Therefore, make a list of loved ones whom you can rely on when it comes to rule-abiding.

  1. Check Local Regulations

Before deciding on a number of guests, check if your local regulations allow it. You and your guests may pay hefty fines for noncompliance, ruining the mood and causing an inconvenience. And if your area allows your number of guests anyway, still observe the three basic preventive measures: mask-wearing, maintaining a 1-meter distance from everyone, and washing your hands frequently.

If social distancing is impossible, then require everyone, including yourself, to wear masks. Place lidded trash bins around your yard, too, so that anyone who will sneeze can dispose of their toilet papers without going inside your house.

  1. Avoid sharing of plates, utensils, and glasses

Go the extra mile in serving food. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, share plates, utensils, and glasses. You should also minimize your contact with bottle openers, spigots, and doorknobs.

If possible, assign one friend or family member to act as a server during the mealtime. This ensures that numerous guests won’t touch the serving spoons and beverage containers. Consider making your server wear gloves, too, and if they couldn’t, then frequently check if they’re washing their hands often and keeping their masks on except when they’re eating or drinking.

  1. Limit the Time When Food is Available

It’s dangerous to keep food exposed outdoors for long periods, even without a pandemic. Hence, specify the time for lunch, snacks, and dinner. Inform your guests of the time when food will be served and taken away so that everyone knows what to expect.

  1. Use Disposables

We may be avoiding them due to environmental reasons, but it’s safer to use disposables than risk touching things where droplets might settle. Choose eco-friendly varieties to avoid the guilt!

  1. Have Fun

Having fun is still possible despite the restrictions. After all, the point of a Christmas party is spending time together. Though hugs cannot happen, there are other ways to express your affection for one another.

Spread the love by making your exchange gifts portion fun. Give things that’ll remind your loved ones of the uniqueness of this year’s Christmas. That could be items that make isolation more bearable, such as books, food delivery coupons, and self-care packages. Wearablesthat they can use at home and work, such as silicone bracelets or stylish face masks.

If you’d have a guest who’s an essential worker, give them something special that’ll make their life easier. Ask their biggest struggles, and provide a simple solution. For example, if they’re starting to get self-conscious about their dry and scaly hands due to frequent washing, gift them a hand lotion. Or, if they’ve been sleep-deprived for a while now, give them some bath products that’ll relax their minds and bodies.

Remember that despite the fun we’re all allowed to have, never forget to follow the rules. Our cooperation is the most important because the more compliant we are, the faster we can eradicate this virus. If we all do our part, our parties next year can involve hugs and snuggles again!