Let’s face it – this year is unlike any other! We are dealing with unprecedented times, leaving us all a little unsure of how to handle the holiday gatherings. Maybe you are switching to a virtual holiday celebration this year, or maybe you are just gathering with a small subset of your family members. Whatever you decide to do, these tips will help you create a jolly atmosphere in an otherwise not-so-jolly year.

1. Masks

It’s a good idea to have some masks by the door for those that forgot them at home. Buy this assorted color pack from Amazon so that the kids have fun picking out which color they want.

2. Utilize outdoor space / space out tables 

Ideally, you should host your holiday gathering outside. If weather permits and you have the space, see if you can put up a few tables outside for your guests. If that isn’t an option where you live, try to create several spaced out small tables instead of one long table to keep the social distance.

3. Lunch Lady Style

Family style serving of meals is not the best call this year. Instead introduce lunch lady style, where one person is the dedicated plate builder for everyone, asking how much they want of each food item. This way, you can be sure that the food was served by someone with clean hands. No hairnets required!

4. Bottled Beverages

It’s a good idea to avoid shared pitchers and water coolers. Instead, stock up on bottled Perrier, La Croix,  canned wine, bottled Martinelli’s apple juice, mini champagne bottles, and premixed cocktails in a can. Many local restaurants are now able to sell pre-bottled cocktails–this is a great way to support local businesses and keep the night fun!

5. Decor

A pandemic should not stop your holiday decor goals. I love the  Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Collection from Target for an understated table runner and cloth napkins. Order your garland, wreath, and flowers to be delivered from UrbanStems. Been eyeing these champagne-colored or matte black sets of flatware? While expensive, this is the year to take the plunge and purchase because you will likely only need limited sets, not enough for the whole extended family.


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Kristen Carli, RD is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness, a private nutrition practice in Scottsdale, Arizona specializing in chronic disease prevention and management as well as vegan/ vegetarian nutrition. Kristen has a passion for helping others identify and knock down their individual barriers hindering them from living a healthy life.