The Wimmera Mail-Times

The COVID-safe guide to celebrating Christmas in 2021

The COVID-safe guide to celebrating Christmas in 2021

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With virtually all Australian states preparing to lift their interstate travel restrictions in the lead-up to Christmas this year, many Aussie families are gearing up to spend this coming holiday season with all the loved ones they found themselves missing in 2020.

Despite opportunities for interstate travel returning over the next few weeks, many Australians are still making the decision to stay COVID-safe for Christmas in 2021, simply to minimise the risks of their state experiencing a spike in case numbers, or even to ensure that any vulnerable, immunocompromised family members are free to celebrate without any concerns.

There are naturally a few things that you'll need to consider with your family and loved ones if you're thinking about putting together a COVID-safe plan for this coming Christmas, comparing Christmas gift ideas naturally coming second to organising travel plans, as these will need to be finalised well before the holiday period.

Here's everything else you'll need to celebrate a jubilant yet responsible COVID-safe Christmas this year.

Organise a virtual Christmas dinner

If any of your family and friends who are living interstate have decided to stay at home this Christmas season, you can still celebrate with them by organising some virtual COVID-safe Christmas activities.

Putting together a virtual Christmas party or Christmas dinner can be as easy as setting up a Zoom meeting link for a specific time, and providing your guests with information surrounding the arranged festivities, just to ensure that everybody's on the same page and knows exactly what to expect, and what's expected of them.

For instance, you may ask everyone to dress up so that you can take some Zoom family Christmas photos ('Brady Bunch' style!). In doing so, both you and all of your guests will be able to enjoy the same Christmas foods during your virtual Christmas celebrations!

If you're looking to share a nice meal over Zoom with friends and loved ones scattered across the country or perhaps even the globe, then you might even consider sending all your attendees a thoughtful Christmas gift hamper ahead of time.

Celebrate Christmas with your neighbours

If organising a virtual Christmas party with your wider family may not be possible due to conflicting schedules, then why not spend this holiday season celebrating with your neighbourhood?

Community values are foundational in any Christmas celebration, so exchanging small gifts and dishes with your neighbours may be just what you and your family need to make this Christmas really special.

You can organise to come over for a small Christmas lunch or dinner or even invite your neighbours over for a barbecue in your backyard.

Suppose you have good relationships with several neighbours. In that case, you may even decide to organise a Christmas block party so that your whole neighbourhood can enjoy Christmas together whilst still ensuring that their holiday season stays sensible and COVID-safe.

Just be sure to ask your neighbours about their vaccination status and reinforce that any community members who are feeling unwell should feel encouraged to stay in their own home.

Christmas cuisine and crafts at home

If you'd like to keep your Christmas celebrations right at home, then there's plenty of family-friendly holiday activities that you can choose to do.

For instance, if you have bored kids on your hands, you may decide to enlist their help in the kitchen and create some delectable Christmas treats and snacks.

Some popular Christmas recipes for kids of all ages include iced gingerbread biscuits, fruit mince pies, Christmas trifles, and other sweet treats. Older kids can help with preparing main courses for an intimate family Christmas lunch or dinner too!

Once all the cooking has been completed, you can pull out a few other activities such as jigsaw puzzles, board games, or even some holiday-themed arts and crafts projects.

You can teach your children how to sew by making their own stuffed reindeer or felt gingerbread men. Making candles can also be a great Christmas Day activity for older kids, amongst a myriad of other activities that are likely to engage the whole family.

Be sure to do some hunting for Christmas activity ideas online, or consider even asking your children for some suggestions themselves!

Go off the beaten track this summer

Finally, if you and your family do want to have a little getaway this summer, you should still feel encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.

You can embark on a little Christmas adventure and still maintain your family's COVID-safe practices by taking the road less travelled both for this summer as well as for your next few family vacations.

You should opt for domestic travel destinations that are likely to be experiencing less tourist traffic than travel hotspots like the Gold Coast or the city of Sydney.

Booking tickets on the Spirit of Tasmania to spend your summer driving around Tassie could be a good bet, or even packing the family car up to explore the great state of Western Australia.

Feel encouraged to explore Australia's most breathtaking national parklands over its more crowded beaches. Your family will likely have a summer vacation they won't be forgetting anytime soon!

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Staying COVID-safe this Christmas doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing the joys of this season. In fact, you could argue that maintaining community care is really what Christmas is all about.

So long as you and your wider family acknowledge this little truth, the chances are that your 2021 Christmas will be sure to leave everyone with smiles on their faces that'll last till New Year's!