The Holidays Aren’t Canceled. Have Fun, Be Festive, and Stay Safe.
Between the CDC and government officials telling people to stay home this holiday season, it would be easy to throw up our hands and say, “Bah Humbug!” Fear not, friends! Just because 2020 has been a Grinch, you don’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to have fun celebrating the holidays while staying safe. We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks for the holidays to make this one enjoyable and memorable.
At Waterfull, we focus on emergency preparedness. For this newsletter, we are focusing on holiday preparedness during a pandemic – covering everything from décor to shopping to entertainment. Emergency preparedness involves more than simply food and water. When people are told what to pack in their emergency bags, they are also told to include entertainment options, comfort objects, and things to lift their spirits. That’s why this newsletter focuses on ideas for ways to have festive fun safely.
Look for ways to decorate a little more than in years past since you will likely be spending more time at home and so will your neighbors. If you have ever wanted to embrace your inner Clark Griswold and put out a giant outdoor light display, 2020 is the year! This is a wonderful way to spread neighborhood joy.
With that being said, don’t let going bigger turn into a disaster. According to the National Safety Council, “Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.” One study found “13,000 people are seen each year for accidents related to holiday decorations” with “5,800 accidents occur[ing] when people fall putting up decorations during the holiday season.”
When thinking about safety, consider winterizing your outdoor spaces. The CDC recommends hosting holiday outdoor events whenever possible. 2020 is the year to invest in patio heaters, fire pits, and outdoor fireplaces.
The CDC recommends avoiding busy shopping malls, so try to do most shopping online. When possible, try to support small businesses. Before you hit the buy button at a huge online retailer’s website, search to see if you can find the same product offered online by a local retailer.
In addition to shopping for your loved ones online, you can also donate to your favorite organizations online. Non-profits and charities have been hit hard by the pandemic, but COVID rules make regular toy drop-offs more difficult. Instead, look for the organization’s Amazon Wish List.
If you choose to avoid attending or hosting a traditional holiday dinner, there are festive options. For example, send your long-distance family members a meal kit and ask everyone to cook the same meal in their own kitchens. If your loved ones live nearby, drop off the meal. Just make sure you set up a Zoom time to dine together online!
If you don’t typically cook, this is a great opportunity to support local restaurants. Many local restaurants are trying to make up for lost revenue by offering full holiday meals that you pick up and reheat at home.
If you choose to host a small dinner gathering, here are some tips for keeping it COVID-friendly:
- Offer single-serving options (such as individually wrapped treats)
- Provide disposable tableware
- Avoid potluck style
- Say no to shared finger foods
Health & Safety
According to the CDC, “As cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase across the United States, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”
However, we know that it has been a long year and many people will be visiting with family and friends. If you fall into this category, here are some health and safety tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as you gather with loved ones.
- Keep following the main COVID rules – Wear masks (keep extras on hand for guests), wash hands frequently, and practice social distancing.
- Clean high touch surfaces – Throughout the visit, make sure you frequently clean high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, faucets, and countertops.
- Have sanitizer ready – Place bottles of hand sanitizer in convenient locations in your home for guests.
- Airflow through the home – COVID-19 spread easier indoors in less ventilated spaces, so when possible, open your windows or doors to allow airflow through the home.
- Stay outdoors – Look for ways to move your celebration outdoors. Real Simple suggests, “Look for outdoor activities that can be socially distanced and keep you active, like sledding or snow-fort making. […] Do your Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange around an outdoor picnic table or fire pit.”
Things will be different this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s while staying safe. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Virtual events – Enjoy the plethora of virtual holiday events, such as live performances streamed online or online Santa visits.
- Christmas movie marathon – Spend a day in your pajamas enjoying a Christmas movie marathon. Even better, take advantage of tools like Netflix party, which allows you to watch the same show or movie with friends in other homes.
- Gingerbread competition – Have a gingerbread house decorating contest. This is one that is easy to do with long-distance loved ones. Simply have everyone decorate their house and take pictures and show it off on Zoom.
- Car parade – Just like birthday parades during quarantine, have a neighborhood Christmas car parade. Decorate your vehicles and sing Christmas carols.
- Christmas light displays – Visit Christmas light displays in your area or stroll through your neighborhood.
- Hot chocolate bar – Set up a festive hot chocolate bar with extra toppings and flavors for kids and adults to enjoy.
- Make an ugly Christmas sweater – Rather than buying an ugly Christmas sweater, use your extra time to make your own this year.
- Have a game night – Pull out your favorite board games and a deck of cards. This is a great time to introduce your family to the games you love.
- Bake and taste – This year you have time to finally bake all those Christmas treats you’ve been adding to your Pinterest board for years. Plus, your family will enjoy doing a taste test.
- Play Secret Santa – Without doing the usual visit, simply leave small gifts on people’s doorsteps. Surprise the neighborhood with the best lights or put a present on the doorstep of someone you think needs a little pick-me-up.
A Waterfull Barrel: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
The best kinds of Christmas gifts are the ones that keep on giving year after year. If you give your loved one a Waterfull Barrel, you are preparing them for any water emergency in the future. A Waterfull Barrel provides your loved ones with fresh drinking water whenever the need arises. Our unique system holds enough drinking water for a family of four for up to 7 days.
Disaster News/Resolution: Americans Who Drink Water are Happier
With the new year quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to think about new year’s resolutions. We suggest our Waterfull friends make a resolution to drink more water. Not only is drinking more water healthy, but it is also a great way to increase your personal happiness. According to this study shared by the Good News Network, “adults [are] three times more likely to feel ‘very happy’ if they reported drinking enough water.”
DIY: Kiss 2020 Goodbye and Ring in the New Year with a Water Bottle Shaker
We are all ready to say goodbye to 2020, so find ways to celebrate big this New Year’s Eve. One fun and easy way to welcome 2021 is to make your own water bottle noisemaker. Not only will you have a way to loudly say goodbye to 2020, but you will have a way to recycle the water bottles you no longer need since purchasing a Waterfull Barrel.
- Empty and dry water bottle
- Glitter paint
- Festive duct tape
- Bells and beads (for noise)
- Pour about 2 tablespoons of glitter paint into the dry water bottle.
- Close the lid and shake the bottle to coat the entire inside with glitter paint. Add more glitter paint as needed.
- Once coated, remove the lid, and place the bottle on the side to dry.
- After the bottle is completely dry, add the bells and beads to the bottle.
- Close the bottle securely.
- Use the decorative duct tape to wrap the lid.
- Make some noise!
Story: This is the Year You Finally Make an Emergency Plan
In case you missed our past newsletter detailing how to make a family emergency plan, we hope you will take the time to read it today. As we begin the new year, we hope this will be the year you finally make an emergency plan. While we hope you will never have any need to use it, the saying goes, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”