During this time of uncertainty, we need to be flexible in our party planning this holiday season. Whether you are indoors or outside, you need to make some adjustments for entertaining this holiday. Sad to say, it is not going to be the same. Below are some party planning tips during COVID that will hopefully assist you in making your own arrangements. Let's begin and get your party ready!
Planning is Key
Planning is key for a successful COVID holiday party. It’s important to take the time to set up a plan at least three weeks before the event. This will give you enough time to gather your items.
Assign a place for these tables and chairs, plus tablecloths and other things. A garage or a basement are good places to hold these items for the big day.
The CDC has shared some tips that may also help you. Feel free to check it out here.
Location of the Party Feast.
If you live in a warmer climate, it may be easier for you to have your party outdoors, making it easier to observe social distancing.
But, people in the cooler climates may have a hard time doing this and will need to have their event held inside. If you can set up small tables throughout the main floor so individual families can sit together and observe social distancing with others may be more effective.
Minimize the Party Feast.
Do you need all those side dishes? Streamlining the recipes served at the holiday party will make your life much easier. Making recipes ahead of time and just reheating will minimize your stress during the day of the party.
At Thanksgiving, we plan to make a tray of food with various side dishes on it to fit on a small table. Using square bowls inside the tray will give you more room for everything, and it will reduce the amount of space you need on the table. This will allow for easy serving, as well. It will save time when you need to add them to the tray for the different families. See the image below for an example of how this tray could look.
Tip: Make up the tray before the party to examine how much will fit and adjust the tray accordingly.
Remember that paper plates are OK for this occasion. We have several white plates in our home for parties to reduce waste. If you do not want to touch people's plates and silverware, you can have the dishwasher open, and they can add their plates to it without you touching them.
Minimize the number of people that cook and serve food.
Have only the hosts make the trays of food. Using baking sheets or platters, add enough food for the table you are serving. Each table should have its own tray of a sampling of the dishes. Only the hosts should touch the food, cook, and serve.
Card tables are your friend.
Since we have four families of 4 coming to the party, four card tables were placed in various areas on the main floor. These people already live with the other members of their family who are sitting at their table, they do not have to worry about spreading germs to one another when eating.
Minimize the decorations on the table.
While I love a well-decorated Thanksgiving table, this year may not be a great one to go all out -- try instead, getting plastic matching tablecloths. Add small centerpieces to the tables that are in the holiday colors.
Minimize what people are bringing to your house.
If people still want to bring something, tell them they can bring closed beverages. They can also bring flowers or a gift to the hosts.
Have signs reminding people to wear masks and wash hands.
Below are some examples of wording you can use for these signs.
Please wash your hand when you enter.
Add this sign to the front entrance and on the bathroom door as a reminder.
Feel free to wear masks.
This sign can be hung on the front door before people enter.
We love you! No hugs are necessary. Elbow bumps are OK!
Or doing the bump, like we did in the 70s. Lol
This sign can be hung on the front door as well.
Powder Room Supplies to Replace
First, put away any personal items to make sure they do not get infected accidently.
Then, place disposable hand towels that people can use in the bathroom without using the same towel. Remind people that these need to be thrown in the trash, not the toilet. Here are some guest towels and baskets I found on Amazon.com (affiliate). Remember, I will receive a referral fee if you click through and purchase something from Amazon at no additional cost.
Minimize Kids Spreading Germs During Activities
If you have kids at the festivities, try buying prepackaged craft projects that are completely enclosed in a package. Get enough glue for each child so they do not need to share. If you can't find sets already made up you can always separate them and place them in zipper baggies that hold all the items together for that craft project. Below are some kits I found on Amazon (affiliate). You can also find these kits at Micheal's.
Now, that the fabulous party is over. Let's clean up!
After the Party Tasks To Do.
Walk around and wipe down the common areas where people were congregating. Be sure to clean and disinfect the commonly touched areas, like doorknobs, counters, chairs, and sink faucet handles. Visit our post that talks about top spots to clean in your home to stay healthy this winter.
No Gathering is Also OK.
Not everyone is going to have the same set up this year for the holidays. Some may have a large gathering; others may not have anyone come over at all. Know that it is OK not to have a party if you feel uncomfortable with the current situation or do not want to deal with the modifications you need to make. Stressing about it isn't what the holidays are all about. If you feel it is too stressful, tell yourself it is OK to pass this year. An alternative to a holiday party could be a Zoom gathering on the day you usually meet.
I hope this post gives you party planning tips during COVID that will keep you and your family/friends safe while you enjoy your time together.
Now it's your turn! Please share in the comments below your tips on minimizing the spread of germs when having a party. I would love to hear from you.
Wow! Such a great, timely and much needed post! You did a wonderful job getting to all the details and I know those who read it will definitely feel more at peace this holiday season using these tips! Well done 🙂
I’m so glad that you wrote this just in time for Thanksgiving. I usually have a big crowd, but not this year. I’m planning to have just 2 family members, who will be tested ahead of time.
I like the idea of trays and paper towels. I love the idea of letting guests know that the towels go in the trash, not the toilet.
I know you’re a great cook. I hope you share some of your best recipes!
These are great tips. Something that happened in Canada during Thanksgiving was a family member cooked the meal and then dropped off plates for food that just needed to be warmed up. Everyone met on Zoom and eat the meal together. Here is a link to a dice roller and yahtzee score card you can play on zoom. No need to eat and run. Score sheet http://www.playonlinedicegames.com/scoresheet/yahtzee
Dice roller https://www.elversonpuzzle.com/yahtzee-dice-roller.html
Fun! Thanks for sharing your experience in Canada. =)
Diane N Quintana
These are great tips, Sabrina. I love your signs - wash your hands, feel free to wear a mask, etc. I hadn't thought about putting signs like that up but I think they will help everyone feel more comfortable and cared for.
It's so a difficult time, especially with the holidays coming. Thanksgiving has always been a big gathering here that we love. Family and friends come over and we make a big feast. It's not happening this year.
We just had a micro wedding and worked very hard to make everything as safe as possible. There were no serving platters or areas where people could take there own food, with the exception of the drinks table. But instead of using large bottles, we opted for individual small bottles to minimize sharing/touching. There were sanitizers and signs everywhere. The event was outside and we rented a very nice bathroom unit so that no one was in the house.
With the newlyweds' brunch, I individually wrapped and labeled the bagels, put single portions of avocado, tomato, and smoked salmon in small containers, and individual cream cheese portions. The berry salad was pre-portioned out into individual cups. Normally I wouldn't do that, but again, we wanted to minimize sharing/touching food.
I don't feel confident about having indoor holiday gatherings this year, even with taking extra precautions. It will feel so amazing when we can gather again, and I look forward to it.
This is such a TOUGH YEAR to plan anything! I think keeping people spaced out at smaller tables is a good idea. I don't think I'll be having many to my holiday celebrations this year, which makes me sad. But, I know I would feel worse if I had an event and ended up being a super-spreader. I think wearing masks when people are not eating is probably wise, even if it does feel weird.