How to honor holiday traditions during a pandemic

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Jacqueline Cochran, Community Editor

Whether it’s baking holiday goodies, decorating every inch of your home, or wrapping those special presents you can’t wait to give out, holiday traditions need to be modified according to the CDC in order to help keep COVID-19 cases from continuing to rise.

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are almost here and people look forward to these holidays because it’s a time of merriment and fun but most importantly it’s a time when families get together.

“We look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving almost all year,” said Carmen Guerrero, a Garden Grove resident.

Unfortunately, getting together in large gatherings while COVID-19 is spreading is not recommended. The CDC suggests limiting the numbers of guests and having the gathering outdoors. If the celebration has to be indoors then open the windows for air circulation.

Wear masks, social distance and limit the number of people who prep and serve the food. When possible, use disposable utensils. The CDC also says to consider bringing your own food, drink and utensils if you intend to celebrate with people in person.

“I have six children and I placed each of their names in a basket and drew it out like a lottery. Three of my children will have Thanksgiving with me and then the other three will join me for Christmas.

We have decided not to have a family celebration for New Years, especially if the virus continues to spread,” said Melissa Smith, a resident and grandmother of Long Beach.

“My children are angry with me for the way we are doing the holidays, but it’s the responsible thing to do,” Smith said.

“My mom and dad have five children and each of us have children. There are also the spouses and boyfriends and at least one or two cousins that celebrate with us. We have decided to rent a tent for outside,” Guerrero said.

“The last thing we want is to end up with all of us sick. The virus is very real and we will take as many precautions as we can,” said Guerrero.

This time is also a popular time for people to travel. By plane, train or automobile, the airways and highways are filled with millions of people moving about the country from state to state and city to city to celebrate with family and friends.

The CDC suggests that if you travel it will increase the chances of getting or spreading the virus but if you do travel you should wear a mask, get a flu shot, wash hands often with soap and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

It is important to guard and protect yourself as much as possible from getting sick while using public transportation. There are some basic tips and tricks that you can follow that will help slow the spread of the virus.

Enjoy fun activities at home with your immediate family to bring in the holidays. Host a virtual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Decorate and set the table in the same way you would if everyone was going to be together.

You can even have virtual holiday dessert bake-offs. Compete with your family members for the best looking baked goodies. There are games that you can play together through Zoom or watch a game together.

Another crowd gathering draw for the holidays is Black Friday. Instead of standing in long lines at the mall the evening or early morning after Thanksgiving to shop for the limited quantity featured item, check out the many online specials. Some stores such as Target and Walmart are offering some pre-Black Friday deals now. click here to see all the store ads.

“We usually make tamales as a family for Christmas. We do them in large amounts in an assembly line fashion. Although we love to do it, it’s more important that we don’t help this virus spread.

We probably won’t make them this year and perhaps we will buy some instead. The good thing about that is at least buying some will also help out a local business as well,” Guerrero said.

For more information about how to celebrate the holidays during this pandemic visit the CDC’s website.