Earlier this year, experts predicted that “wave two” of COVID-19 would begin sometime in the fall or winter. As it turns out, these experts were right. This wave, which is marked by an increased number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, is here.
The holidays are right around the corner, and the timing of this wave of COVID-19 will most likely impact your Christmas plans. How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect your Christmas celebrations this year? Here are some of the changes you should expect:
Smaller Family Get-Togethers
You may not get to celebrate Christmas with your extended family this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), larger gatherings pose a greater risk than smaller gatherings. Because of this, some states have already established restrictions on the size of indoor gatherings during the holidays. For example, no more than 10 people can gather indoors together for the holidays in the state of New Jersey.
But even if your state hasn’t passed these restrictions, it may be best to keep your family get-together small anyways to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19. This means you may not be able to invite your extended family members to celebrate Christmas with you this year.
Some people may not get to celebrate the holidays with any family members this year. The CDC reports that traveling can increase your risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus. If you typically travel to spend Christmas with your family, you may want to consider staying home this year to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Holiday Event Cancellations
The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 is higher at events with a large number of people in attendance. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, a number of popular Christmas events that take place every year will be cancelled this holiday season.
Some of the events that have already been cancelled include the 132nd Annual Rose Parade and Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. Many local Christmas events, such as light shows and holiday markets, have also been canceled in cities across the country.
If you typically attend or watch these events on TV on Christmas, you will need to make other plans this year.
Online Holiday Shopping
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many people hesitant to visit malls and other brick-and-mortar stores to do their Christmas shopping, and understandably so. The risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher in crowded shopping malls and stores. To protect yourself, it’s best to do your Christmas shopping online this year.
The online shopping surge could lead to delivery delays, so it’s important to order your gifts earlier than usual to ensure they arrive on time.
Restrictions on Religious Gatherings
States that issue lockdown or stay-at-home orders may put restrictions on religious gatherings this Christmas. Some states may prohibit all in-person religious gatherings, whereas others may limit the size of these gatherings in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
If you are used to attending religious gatherings on Christmas Eve or Christmas, these restrictions could impact your plans.
Millions of people experiencing financial hardship due to unemployment or reduced work hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Surveys show that one in four adults in the U.S. have had trouble paying their bills since the start of the pandemic. Based on these statistics, it’s safe to say that many people will be shopping for Christmas gifts on a tighter budget this year.
You may need to cross a few names off of your holiday gift list this year in order to stay within your budget. Or consider giving homemade gifts to your loved ones instead.
Make sure your loved ones know that you don’t expect extravagant gifts this year, either. A lot of people are struggling to make ends meet this year, so it’s important to be understanding.
Contactless Pictures With Santa
Taking pictures with Santa is a common holiday tradition for many families with young children. But this year, many shopping mall operators are making changes that could affect this tradition.
Santa may still appear at your local shopping mall, but your child won’t be allowed to sit on his lap. Some mall operators are already establishing rules that prevent hugging, touching, or any other form of contact with Santa. At these malls, parents will still be able to snap pictures of their child with Santa, but their child must be seated at least six feet away from Mr. Claus.
You will still have a picture of your child with Santa to hold onto, but the experience may not be as rewarding for your child.
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic will impact your Christmas celebrations in some way. But don’t let this put a damper on your holiday cheer. You can still have a meaningful holiday even if your celebrations look a little different this year!