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Prepping Your Home for a COVID-19 Christmas

Now that we know what we’re allowed to do as far as seeing loved ones this Christmas, we’re able to plan accordingly. From 23 – 27 December 2020 we can form ‘Christmas bubbles’ which allow us to join up to two other households during this period.

When we’ve decided which two households we want to spend time with, we’re not able to change them. Once the invites are out, it’s a countdown to preparing for a Christmas like no other. Making the most of our own home and surroundings can help bring some added Christmas magic to the season, but we’ve got some tips on how to do that safely.

A note on cleaning

When looking to give your home a COVID Christmas clean, high-alcohol products are recommended to kill the most bacteria, as well as the more traditional methods such as bleach (only on the recommended surfaces, of course). For more advice about keeping your home sanitised, head to the NHS site for more information.

Before the main event

  • Decluttering will automatically allow for a cleaner environment, so think about storing items away until it is safe to drop them off at a charity shop.
  • If you can’t or would prefer not to visit the supermarket in person, get your online grocery delivery slot booked – there are already very few left!
  • If you are wrapping presents, store them somewhere safe
  • If you have children, talk to them about the changes you’re making. It’s only human nature for kids to have certain expectations at Christmas. This isn’t to say that all kids assume they are getting expensive gifts or that their parents are going to top what they did last year but it’s important that they understand what’s going to be different this year, let them have a say in it, and compromise till you find common ground.

Socialising this Christmas

There is no evidence that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19, but it is possible that a person can catch coronavirus by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, or utensils that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

  • If you have guests, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible (based on classic British weather!), or by placing heating on continuous circulation.
  • As soon as guests arrive, request that they wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and continue to do so frequently.
  • If you’re sharing a meal, limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, such as serving utensils. Single use partyware will be your friend this year – try to opt for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic like bamboo.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • If you don’t have one already, perhaps now is the time to invest in a touchless bin. Use gloves when removing bags or handling and disposing of rubbish and wash hands after you’ve removed them.
  • If you will have clinically vulnerable or elderly people at your home over Christmas, consider asking guests if it’s feasible for them to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Don’t forget Spot the dog! Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
  • If you have concerns about sharing a meal, you could encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only, although we’d first recommend considering how you can prepare and share food safely. You may want to wear a mask while preparing food for or serving food to others who don’t live in your household.

Hosting overnight guests

When thinking about who to form a bubble with, consider whether one of you is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and whether you should stay overnight in the same residence or to stay elsewhere. 

  • Assess risk for infection based on how you or your visitor will travel.
  • Consider and prepare for what you will do if you, or someone else, becomes poorly during the visit. Are there plans in place for isolation, medical care, basic care, and travel home?
  • Visitors should launder clothing and masks, and stow luggage away from common areas upon arrival.
  • Spend time together outdoors. Take a walk or sit outdoors at least 6 feet apart for interpersonal interactions. The weather might be far too naff, but this year think about rediscovering the great outdoors rather than staying cooped up the whole time.

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