During times like this, it is easy to feel like COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into just about everything this year. Your social life looks different, classes are fully remote, and your work life may be in a remote or modified form as well. However, there is one thing that COVID cannot completely ruin – the holidays!

Although the holidays may need to be in another, modified format as everything else, there are many ways to work with this! The most important part about the holiday’s is being around those you love. COVID might be able to keep us apart, but it can’t ruin the holiday’s! To help the others out there that feeling a little lost in their COVID friendly holiday planning, here are my top three tips on how to still have fun, while also staying safe.

  1. Making sure you can travel.        

Whereas it is true that you may not be able to gather all your friends and family into one home, there are plenty of safe and fun ways to celebrate this year.  For students, UW-W has free antigen testing that you can participate in. By testing yourself for antigens, you would be able to know if you are safe to go home or not. I encourage you to do this if you have not already, as it is important for people to continue to test of antigens to flatten the curve. If possible, also encourage your family and friends to do the same before going home for the holidays.

  • Keep the holiday spirit alive!      

If you think about it, most holiday activities that we typically participate in are already pretty COVID safe or have the positional to be with a few small changes. When the cold weather rolls in, we stay inside and find things to do around the house. You can still bake festive cookies, wrap presents, watch holiday movies, and decorate your space without worry and by continuing your normal cleaning habits. If you are someone that loves to bake for others, remember to wear the proper PPE and sanitize anything you plan to give to others, just to be safe. By continuing to do these things, you will find yourself in the holiday spirit, which is something you do want to spread to those around you!

  • Make it virtual.

Though we may not get to see that favorite cousin in person, we are so fortunate to have technology like Zoom, WebEx, and Google Meet to get that holiday party feeling from a distance. By opening a Zoom call to those you care about, you can still have your holiday meals “together”. You can also ship each other gifts instead of getting together and unwrap them over a virtual meeting. There are so many ways to use our technology to bring us all tougher this holiday season, so use it!

               I encourage you all to stay in high spirits as the holidays approach. Spread joy instead of germs and remember to take time for yourself to relax. It is easy to feel like this year has brought nothing but doubt and worry, but I hope you enjoy all that we are still able to do this year!