Tips to celebrate this holiday season


With Christmas a little over a month away, it seems like business re-openings and easing of restrictions couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re just as glad as everyone else that COVID-19 cases, based on the latest reports,  have been going down.

However, the temptation to act like the pandemic never happened is all too real. Forgetting about precautions will likely send us back into harsh lockdowns, which nobody wants.

Let’s all do our part in helping ensure that we all have a safe Christmas by practicing these habits.

1. Mask up. Yes, it’s a hassle. Yes, it’s especially hard to comply when walking or commuting on a hot day. But using masks is one of the simplest, cost-effective ways to make sure that you and the people around you avoid potential COVID-19 infections.

2. Opt for outdoor instead of crowded and tight, indoor spaces. The risks of infection drop dramatically once you are outdoors. If you really want to get out of the house, plan activities that take you and your children outdoors instead of heading to the mall. Seeing greenery is also good for our mental well-being, so that’s two benefits in one!

3. Test and monitor regularly. It should go without saying–once you experience even the mildest of symptoms, get yourself tested. There have been so many stories of entire families getting infected with COVID-19 because someone who had symptoms thought it was just a cold. These days, prevention is much better than waiting to be cured ! You can even be proactive and do tests before meeting friends or relatives who are at risk of acute COVID-19. A rapid antigen test can determine whether or not you are carrying the virus. Results are available in minutes and it’s much more affordable than a PCR test.

4. Sanitize and wash your hands regularly. While the primary mode of transmission is through the air, sometimes the virus can enter the body when we rub our eyes. This is especially true for young children who tend to unconsciously touch their faces. Practice good hygiene by regularly sanitizing your hands when you are outside your home.

5. Avoid eating in crowded, enclosed restaurants. While dine-in restaurants do limit the number of customers they serve, it’s still advisable to avoid eating in public places that aren’t open air. When you eat, you have to take off your mask – and that means a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. Consider getting take-out instead.

6. Plan for smaller family gatherings. Precautions are often thrown out the window when we meet our extended family members. While we support reunions, it’s probably best to limit mass exposure by avoiding big parties. Consider having multiple small get-togethers that are spaced apart by a few days, instead of one grand reunion. Remember, it only takes one infectious person to ruin the party.

7. Celebrate Noche Buena long-distance. If you typically celebrate Christmas eve with your extended family, you can do that this year – remotely. It may be challenging, but keeping your distance is also a way of showing you care. You can also send your love in the quintessential Filipino way – by sending food.

In fact, you can help less fortunate families celebrate Christmas eve by donating Noche Buena packs through World Vision. Knowing that you provided a child in need with a special meal on this special night will make your own family meal even more meaningful.

Going out these days feels like a hard-won privilege. But it’s important to remember that liberties we have are the result of everyone cooperating and following safety protocols. It only takes a few days of careless behavior to undo the good that has been done by two months of hard lockdowns. Getting beyond this pandemic is a team effort, and we’ll all get there if we work together.

Let’s help make this a memorable Christmas for all!