Getting Your Home Ready for Friends and Family Gatherings During the Pandemic
Getting your home ready for hosting during the holidays is a big undertaking. From the menu planning to the cleaning and decorating, there’s a lot of details to keep track of. Because of the pandemic, preparing your home for gatherings this year will look a little bit different than years in the past.
There are several ways to make the experience safe for you and your guests so that everyone has a good time while also staying healthy going into the new year. Here are some ideas for how you can still see your friends and family during the holidays while being smart and careful about it.
Set up space outdoors
If you have the space to do so, the safest way to celebrate with your guests is to take it outside. Luckily, we live in southern California where the weather is warm enough that spending time outdoors in the winter is comfortable. In order to make it feel more festive, you can winterize your space and add some decor elements.
A few ways to make it cozier are to add blankets, comfortable seating, light a fire, set up outdoor heaters, and hang string lights. It can also be a bonus because if you are adding a nice fire pit area or built-in lighting to your backyard, it can add value to your home in case you decide to sell in the future.
You can also serve food and drinks that will warm your guests up like s’mores, hot cocoa, soups, and apple cider. It’s probably best to use disposable cups and dishes so that once you’re done, you can just toss it all out without having the risk of bringing anything used into the house. This is also a win-win because it’s a huge timesaver with the easy cleanup.
Keep indoor gatherings small
For those of you with a “quarantine pod” or a small set of immediate family/friends that you want to spend the holidays with, make sure to keep the guest list short. Even though you won’t be celebrating with the usual large group this year, to make this more intimate gathering feel special, you can add some personal touches.
For one, since it’s just a few people, you can spend a little more time on the tablescapes because it’s less space to have to work with. If you have a small kitchen, you can also ask that each guest bring a dish for the meal potluck-style so that you can utilize the cooking area for the main course. It’s also typically a good idea to declutter your space in general before having guests over so consider sprucing up your home and donating any unused items while you tidy up.
The other things to think about for a small, indoor gathering are to plan ahead by cleaning out the fridge and freezer to make room for the food, clean the oven and stove, put a hand sanitizer by the door, and light some seasonal candles to add to the ambiance. You should also check with each guest to make sure they’ve been careful with quarantining and that they are comfortable being in an indoor space without masks with the other guests on your list.
Connect with extended family virtually
If your family is spread out across the country, it’s probably not possible or safe for them to travel this year. Since they aren’t able to join you in person, you can include them in your celebration virtually. Zoom has been a popular app during 2020 because it lets you join a video call with several people where you can see all of them at once in a “Brady Bunch” style view.
There are also some fun ways to incorporate games and virtual activities into the celebration like charades, Jackbox games, trivia, and follow-along cookie decorating. You could also set up a Zoom just for the kids where they can stream and watch a movie together. It won’t be exactly the same as if you were all there together in person, but it’s a pretty great alternative and is definitely the safest option.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is look to the CDC for the latest guidance and recommendations for how to stay healthy during the holidays this year.
Keep in mind that if you’re looking to buy or sell a home in San Diego, I will help you get the best price possible and will make the whole process easy for you. I hope you all make the most of the season and celebrate with your loved ones safely!