Holidays During COVID – Tips for Housemates

Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en, and Christmas are sure to be celebrated a little differently this year. With guidelines changing daily, it can be difficult to keep up with what we should and shouldn't do. At the time of publication, the Ontario government is suggesting that Thanksgiving celebrations be limited to those people you already live with. "Please do not hold a big Thanksgiving dinner. Please limit your Thanksgiving dinner to the people you live with," Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health in Toronto told CTV news.

The good news for those who are home sharing is that Thanksgiving can be celebrated in person with housemates. Still, there are ways to include family and friends who live outside of your household. Here are some ideas and a few of the current recommendations we've found for celebrating Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en, and Christmas this year.

Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

To most Canadians, thanksgiving is about getting together with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks. While you and your immediate family and housemates can certainly still enjoy a delicious thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, your gathering is likely to feel incomplete if you're missing a loved one. Here are some ways to follow government guidelines while remaining safe:

  • Have your meal early and then spend time together creating thanksgiving plates to bring to your loved ones who are unable to attend. This is a contact-less way to include your family and ensure everyone can enjoy a wonderful meal.

  • Coordinate a time in the evening to have coffee and dessert over Skype with those who are unable to attend.

  • Many families share what they are most grateful for over dinner. You can still share the love and gratitude! Consider a virtual call or traditional phone call to loved ones to tell them what you are most grateful for.

  • Generosity is a wonderful way to show your gratitude. Taking the time to remember those in need right now is a great way to boost your own spirits and help someone else. Consider making a financial donation to your local food bank, or call to see if they are accepting donations.

Ways to Celebrate Hallowe'en

Currently, there is a lot of debate about whether Hallowe'en will or should be cancelled because of COVID-19. In this article by the National Post, one parent argues that of all the holidays, Hallowe'en is the one in which it would be easiest to follow COVID guidelines. Children wear masks anyway, trick-or-treaters are outside, and homeowners can easily stay 2-feet apart by leaving candy at the door.

In the United States, the CDC has suggested safe ways to celebrate:

  • "Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space

  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest

  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with

  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house."

Ways to Celebrate Christmas

With Christmas, Hannukah and other winter holidays around the corner and uncertainty about the second wave of the virus growing, planning is difficult at this moment. For those who tend to get organized and do holiday shopping early, it may be wise to hold off plans for now. If you decide to book traditional celebrations, ensure that these plans are cancellable and that any guests you invite are aware of the need for flexibility.

Ultimately, for each of these holidays it is important to discuss how you will celebrate with your housemates to ensure everyone is comfortable and on the same page. Keep your health and the health of your housemates top of mind in all your decisions.

Remember, enjoying holidays together is a wonderful way to spend time with your housemates. Give the team at HomeShare Alliance a call for more homesharing advice and for help with your own homeshare journey!

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