4 tips for safer holiday celebrations

Outdoor thanksgiving celebration


Key takeaways: 

  • Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe this holiday season. 
  • Don't wait – make a plan now to ensure your holiday gathering is fun and safe for all. 


The holiday season is here, which for many of us means time spent in community and with loved ones. While vaccination rates continue to rise and infection rates gradually decline in many areas, it’s still important to take COVID-19 precautions to protect your health and the health of those around you during the holidays. Here are some ways to help you and your friends and family celebrate more safely and help the health care community avoid a post-holiday surge.

Get vaccinated

One of the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but it also protects those around you. This is especially important if you plan to gather with anyone who might not be fully vaccinated, who are immunocompromised and/or are very young (0-4). Everyone five and older is eligible to receive the vaccine and more than 195 million people are already fully vaccinated. The vaccines have proven to be safe and very effective.

Follow travel guidelines

The CDC does not recommend domestic or international travel for those who are not fully vaccinated. But, even if you are vaccinated, there are still travel precautions the CDC recommends and requires you to take (e.g., all people are required to masks on airplanes, regardless of vaccination status). If you are not vaccinated and travel is a must, see the CDC’s domestic and international guidelines.

Make a plan

Proactively discuss and make a COVID-19 plan with your loved ones prior to gathering, so everyone understands each other’s comfort levels and the safety measures the group will take. Things to consider:

  • Will we gather indoors or outdoors? Outdoor gatherings are the safest way to celebrate, but there are ways to help minimize risk, such as vaccination, masking, pre-event testing and social distancing.
  • Will everyone be fully vaccinated? Some families may have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated friends and family gathering. Consider asking guests to take a COVID test prior to arrival, and/or exploring a combination of testing, masking and social distancing. Learn more on how to protect unvaccinated family members.
  • What size of gathering will you have? Will this be a big or small gathering?

Share and prepare food safely

Food is often the centerpiece of holiday family gatherings, but care should be taken in preparation and serving to prevent infection. A potluck-style meal may not be the best option, as it encourages crowding. A better option might be to have one designated person serve. And, remember to always wash your hands before preparing food and eating.


Find a doctor

If you have questions about vaccinations or want to secure one for your child, make an appointment with your primary care physician. If you need a doctor, you can find a Providence provider in your area by searching in our online provider directory

Related resources

Safer ways to celebrate the holidays

Staying COVID-aware during the holidays  

COVID-19 vaccine and kids: What you need to know 

Deciding whether to get the COVID vaccine? 5 facts you should know

5 COVID-19 vaccine myths and the facts

What to know about the Delta variant