The best time of the year is here. While 2020 has indeed been challenging, check out these ways to leave your worries behind and embrace the festive spirit.
The holiday season is upon us. It is the right time to let go of the stress the pandemic has caused us and celebrate – albeit a little differently. Yes, you can keep the festive spirit alive while ensuring your safety and that of others around you. Whether it’s online shopping, video chatting, cooking at home, or a showing little generosity to others, here are some effective tips on how you can safely enjoy the festive season.
1. Follow safety rules while celebrating: Just because the holidays are here does not mean we can let our guard down. The pandemic is not over yet. Remember to wear a mask whenever you step outside the home or have visitors. Wash your hands regularly, sanitise them often, and avoid touching your face. Minimise socialising and rely on video chat instead. Enjoy the festivities while following the rules of the new normal.
2. Shop for gifts online: This year has been hard for just about everyone. The holiday season is a good time to put away your stress, anxiety, and worries. One way to relax and feel good is to buy gifts for friends and family to show how much you love them. These don’t necessarily have to be expensive – small, thoughtful gifts will do the trick. Avoid crowding the mall and shop online instead. Not only is this safer, there are also some great deals available on e-commerce sites.
3. Take precautions while gifting: Ensure you sanitise all items before you gift them. This will keep the recipients safe. Advise them to keep the packages in a ‘cool-off zone’ for a few days before opening them. This will destroy any virus before they come in contact with it. Obviously, do not gift any perishable items that need to be consumed immediately. Practise the same for the gifts you get. Earmark an area, preferably near the door, where you can keep all your packages for a few days before opening them.
4. Swap cash with digital money: Cash envelopes are a popular gift during the holidays. However, experts say that coronavirus can survive on paper for many days. Instead of cash, you can transfer money via UPI or by means of digital wallets such as Paytm, Google Pay or PhonePe. It is a quick, easy, and safe way to give someone cash, which they can use to purchase whatever they want.
5. Prepare food at home: A big part of the festivals is eating yummy food. From chakli, farsan, samosa, barfi, laddoo, soan papdi, and more during Diwali to roast chicken, seafood casseroles, baked potatoes, gravy, plum cake, and wine for Christmas, the list is endless. This year, instead of ordering in or eating at a restaurant, cook at home. In any case, we would all have become passable chefs during the lockdown, so it’s time to up the game a notch for the holidays. This will be safer and cheaper – and besides, nothing can beat the taste of traditional family recipes.
6. Avoid bursting firecrackers: This tip should be followed every year, not just during Diwali. Crackers are extremely bad for the environment and they scare animals. They are often made in unsafe factories by child workers. This year, with COVID-19 affecting the respiratory organs of millions of people around the world, breathing will become a lot more difficult if the air is further polluted. The AQI (air quality index) of Indian cities such as New Delhi is alarming throughout the year, and it further worsens during this season. It is time to clean up our act, reverse the damage we have caused over many decades, and work towards sustainability if we wish to a leave safer, thriving planet for future generations.
7. Greet with a namaste: Shaking hands and hugging while meeting friends and family is the norm in India, but this year is all about social distancing. So maintain a distance of six feet when meeting your loved ones. Greet with a no-contact ‘namaste’ instead. Remember to sit at a safe distance when visiting someone’s home. Avoid eating or drinking anything as it would require you to remove your mask. Keep your visits short. Exchange wishes, share some love verbally, and take your leave.
8. Pay it forward: The pandemic has been extra hard on marginalised sections of society. A lot of them would have no means to celebrate at all. This is the time to light up someone’s life. Whether it is your house help, security guard, people living in shelters, or orphans, make an effort to pay forward the blessings you are privileged to enjoy. Cash, food, and sparingly worn clothes are things that will be deeply appreciated. Nothing compares to seeing someone smile and knowing it is because of you.
We all need our spirits lifted this year, and the holidays are the perfect time to forget our worries. While you participate in the festivities, spend time with your family, and celebrate just as you do every year, be sure to follow some precautions. And try to make someone else’s holiday special too. Happy holidays!