As Ireland emerges from level five lockdown – and with Christmas just around the corner – it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. Though it’s great we’ll be able to spend time with family over the festive season, we still need to be cautious when it comes to managing the spread of coronavirus. These handy tips will help make sure everything from shopping for gifts to cooking Christmas dinner is done in a safe, socially distant way.
1. Shop During Off-Peak Hours
Non-essential retail outlets are now allowed to reopen, hopefully helping them get back up and running financially. Bear in mind though that this likely means shops will be busy. If you’re high risk for coronavirus, or living with someone who is, you should either avoid going to shops altogether, or try to schedule your visit during off-peak hours. Have a list of what you need to get to help avoid aimless browsing, and don’t forget your mask! They’re mandatory in all stores (and crowded streets).
2. Buy Gifts Online
A great alternative is picking up your presents online. Most retailers now have a web store, and will deliver items in time for Christmas. You can help support Irish retailers by buying from a homegrown supplier – there are lots of them listed on the Just Buy Irish and Guaranteed Irish sites, as well as this comprehensive Irish Times article.
3. Stagger Christmas Visits
If your family unit comprises of more than three households, you’ll have to get creative in how you spend the festive period. Why not try to turn it into a positive; a staggered approach means festivities can go on longer than just one day, after all! Some siblings could visit Mum and Dad on Christmas Eve or Stephen’s Day, rather than risking a big crowd on December 25th that could put people's health at risk. Zoom calls, handwritten letters, cards and gifts will help maintain a connection during this very unusual time.
4. Think OUTSIDE the box!
Another way to mitigate that risk is to spend as much time outdoors as possible. It may be chilly, but wintry walks in spacious areas like parks mean less risk for vulnerable people, like the elderly. Kids will love splashing puddles and climbing trees while adults catch up – just remember to wrap up warm!
5. Turkey Buffet
Finally, the way we prepare and serve Christmas dinner should also be reconsidered this year. If you’re in charge of the turkey and ham, there are a few things to bear in mind. Be sure to wash your hands before handling any food, and wear a mask as you prepare it. A way to avoid sharing cutlery is to serve dinner up in a buffet style, with guests seated as far apart as possible. Hugs and handshakes should sadly be avoided, which grandparents will undoubtedly find tough! Again, try to find a positive here by encouraging little ones to sing, dance and blow kisses. It will be a Christmas like no other, but by taking some precautions, it will hopefully be no less magical.