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Cold Weather and the Holidays Are Coming – How Will You Adjust?

Category: Home and Garden

November 10, 2020- if you like a lot of Americans you probably found some safe ways to socialize with a small group of friends or family this past summer. But with cold weather and the holidays arriving soon many folks are grappling with how to keep that going and avoid social isolation. We are curious to find out what techniques and strategies you might be using to make that happen.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

Back in September we surveyed what Coronavirus Activities you are willing to engage in. Over 500 completed it; here is a Summary of the responses. One of the questions (#9) directly asked about cold weather, specifically if you would be willing to visit or entertain when it comes. Just over half said they would visit with other folks in some way or another, but with some conditions. The issue becomes even more important as Thanksgiving and the holidays loom in the immediate future.

There were over 80 written Comments to the question. The vast majority of those seemed to indicate they probably would entertain/be entertained, but only if masks and social distancing were observed, and if they trusted the other people.

How are you going to do it?

But, if you are going to go ahead and get together with other people this winter, and you don’t live in a warm winter climate, how are you going to do it?

This past weekend the New York Times had a number of great suggestions on cold weather entertaining in “Warming Up Our Backyards”. People are buying fire pits, heated cushions, propane heaters, and free-standing fireplaces like crazy. Add to that pizza ovens, TVs, radiant heaters – and blankets. Plastic igloos and windscreens are being constructed, and not just in outdoor restaurants. Clothing is coming to the rescue, bearing truth to the slogan there is no such as thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Menus are being adjusted, with hearty stews and warm drinks moving to the fore. Lastly, since people feel a lot warmer if they are moving around, think about scheduling some type of activity, like bocce or a walk, so people aren’t just sitting still.

Holiday entertaining

Other experts are beginning to provide suggestions about how to have a small, and safe, holiday or Thanksgiving party. Some of those include keeping it to a very small number of guests, having everyone be tested beforehand, isolating a week to two weeks before, and not inviting guests who are at the greatest risk (maybe Zoom for them!).

Bottom line – Stay safe! If you don’t feel comfortable seeing anyone, don’t! If you do get together, take all precautions to avoid catching and spreading this highly contagious disease. If you have any doubt about how easy it is to catch, take a look at the rapidly increasing cases, now averaging over 1,000 daily in the U.S., along with a significant number of White House staff including the President.

Your suggestions please! Social isolation is a serious problem, so we could all use some ideas on how to avoid it with your cold weather entertaining. While you are at it, what your plans for Thanksgiving and the holidays? How are you going to stay safe, and potentially celebrate with your loved ones too? Please share your ideas and experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on November 9th, 2020


  1. I wouldn’t gather at all. Just read this article and we are about to enter the worst phase of Covid since it began:

    To prepare for this, all schools should shut down and remote learning instituted. Lockdowns, curfews and companies should hire people to constantly wipe down surfaces to prevent the spread of Covid.

    Hospitals are already becoming overwhelmed. They will have to make life and death decisions who gets to be put on a ventilator.

    Exceptions to gathering for me would be elderly parents who you know have not been exposed.

    Yes, it is hard to live this way, but until the vaccine is available to all, we are all at risk.

    by Louise — November 10, 2020

  2. I agree with Louise. Now is not the time to relax our vigilance, esp. with the hope of a vaccine sometime next year. This article is worth reading and I completely agree with the authors.

    We would have to travel to see family and that would involve flying or driving and staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. I feel that is just too risky, esp. with cases climbing again. As far as isolating for a week or two, I think that is easier said than done. It could get pretty expensive (hotel, eating out), and one could become infected at the end of the 2 week period and possibly bring it to relatives, esp. if asymptomatic. We will be staying home this year as our lives are worth more than missing a couple of holidays with family.

    by Fionna — November 10, 2020

  3. We’re tired of staying home and being excessively careful BUT as the virus ramps up, we’re back to doing just that. Sigh. We miss our group meetings, we miss our friends, we had planned to travel a little and we miss our family. I’ve spent a lot more time on the telephone!

    The one upside to this, is we have gotten to know our neighbors better! On a nice day, we’re ALL out in our yards, up and down the street, and have the time to chat with them. We’ve had warm weather lately and I hope that the Thanksgiving weekend might be nice. I had a thought that we should all set up a table in our back, or front yards and have a social distancing holiday meal. So far, the weather predicts it to be cold but that sounded like it might be fun.

    by Flatearth6 — November 10, 2020

  4. Well, our Governor just issued guidance on Thanksgiving that there be no celebrations with people with whom we don’t reside. So, for those of us senior citizens who live alone, that means the holidays are going to be spent alone. I am very high risk, so I don’t see any way around it. As far as socializing during Covid in the winter, I live in New England and the winters are cold. I bought some waterproof winter hiking boots, so that I can go on long walks with a friend or two if they are game. There are lots of beautiful places to hike around where I live, so that is going to have to be my socializing. I won’t let anyone in my house because I am just too anxious about the virus. I won’t go in a restaurant because studies show people who were diagnosed with Covid had been twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant within 2 weeks of diagnosis. So, that’s it. Walking.

    by Mary — November 10, 2020

  5. I’m afraid holidays are off the table this year. Too bad. Already bought a prime brisket for Christmas. Illinois over 10K cases per day now where in September was about 2K. No good. Maybe next year if the vaccine proves out.

    by Peder — November 10, 2020

  6. Agree with others. Not getting together with family for the holidays. I’m hearing scary stories from my kids who are medical professionals about what’s going on in their hospital (staff shortages since doctors & nurses are either sick or being quarantined from exposure), extra ward added for Covid patients due to overflow, ER exceeded capacity, nurses in other areas being stretched to cover more patients as staff is reassigned to cover shortages, etc. They have enough to worry about without worrying about infecting me. They are also much less optimistic than many news reports about the Pfizer vaccine being available any time soon.

    by Kate — November 11, 2020

  7. While I consider myself a former(RN) nurse, I still perform medical duties part time, three days a week in the office of an oral surgeon. I am also in charge of all the Covid 19 protocols as outlined by our State government and Health Department in Maryland. I am very much on the front lines. Thus, I will not be with any family this Thanksgiving, however I am a good housekeeper and cook so I can make my home a refuge from current events. I love old movies and music and will do my best to create a festive mood on my own. I live in a co-op and we have our own Healthcare task force. Domestic help is highly discouraged as are gatherings of any kind anywhere on the property. Here, no one is allowed to have parties of more than four people in their unit. If one is not going out for a daily walk then one needs to be in their apartment. Masks are required if one steps put of their apartment. We are on about 15 acres and it is very wooded. I am grateful to have a job, but I am aware of the realities of it . The darkest days are ahead of us this winter, but I refuse to let it get me down. Mental health is important as we all try to avoid getting ill.

    by Jennifer — November 12, 2020

  8. Wow. I will be celebrating with my large family despite what my governor says. My kids are flying in and we will be together. Several sisters and D-I-L are nurses and all understand the need to be cautious, thus we will wear masks. Don’t mean to sound pollyannaish, but we have had several gatherings through the summer and as recently as two weeks ago – we are all fine and will continue living our lives – not the one imposed on us.

    by Jane — November 13, 2020

  9. Jane, may I ask what state you live in? Covid cases are out of control all over the nation, but worse in some states. I guess you know that your post is provocative, so you know that the majority disagree with your position. People don’t seem to understand how a pandemic is spread and that what we do effects others. Our Governor has announced a stay at home order for Thanksgiving and I hope most people follow the guidance. Nobody can force anyone to do what is best for the common good, so there will be some who ignore the Governor’s orders. Today is World Kindness Day and I believe that the kindest thing to do in a pandemic is to follow guidance because we are all connected.

    by Maimi — November 13, 2020

  10. Jane, you do not sound pollyannaish to me. We can lose loved ones at any time, and not just from the virus – speaking from personal experience. At any time there can be a car accident, a traumatic event, heart attack, asthma attack, an act of violence, you name it – there are no guarantees whatsoever. I’m so glad you are seeing your kids, and that they are able to fly in. Sounds like everyone will take care and use precautions, so enjoy, eat, laugh. We will be seeing only one set of our 7 children, and none of our grandchildren, but we will enjoy what is given to us.

    by Paula — November 13, 2020

  11. Maine has been SO VERY cautious and careful up to now and even we’re getting hit with an explosion of cases and a rise in deaths! There are a few lists published, out there, of places that are most common to those that have Covid-19. At the top of just about every list is a restaurant or family gathering. Friends of ours in Las Vegas recently took a quick trip north – just to get out of their tiny apartment. When they came home, they both climbed into bed with covid symptoms. They are getting tested today so they can be treated properly. After reading me the riot act for going to the grocery store – she made some good suggestions: Wear a disposable paper mask UNDER your cloth mask, gloves, if you can, and continue to wash up after being anywhere. STAY SAFE EVERYONE!

    by Flatearth6 — November 13, 2020

  12. Jane and Paula, I would never describe anyone who doesn’t follow stay at home orders during a pandemic “Polyanna”. I just watched the national news and most Governors are issuing guidance that there be no travel over Thanksgiving and that we spend the holiday only with people,we live with. Additionally, if someone plans to travel in defiance of orders, they are advised to quarantine for 14 days prior to visiting anyone and to get a negative Covid test. Good news is that even in “red states” are setting up field hospitals with ventilators in parking garages and warehouses now, so there will be plenty of room for the increased numbers. Science is real and we are weeks away from being smart again, thank God!

    by Maimi — November 13, 2020

  13. During the pandemic it is more important to be respectful of each other. When out wear a mask to protect yourselves and others. My thoughts, even if you don’t wear the mask for yourself, wear it so others around you don’t get argumentative or feel uncomfortable. As far as gathering with friends and families, that is a personal choice. Lets not judge what others do in their own homes. As stated above, I could die tomorrow from a car accident, heart attack or whatever. However, I will be respectful of others.

    by Karl — November 14, 2020

  14. I think people need to look at this virus as though it were Tuberculosis. Would you like to be in the same room as someone with TB? This virus is 1000 times worse. I think it is hard for people to relate to something that hasn’t really happened to them and hopefully everyone will continue to be healthy and safe this holiday season. As a retired registered nurse it was difficult watching someone take their last breath, whether they were young or old. I think people need to ask themselves is it worth seeing uncle Joe this one last time or would you rather skip seeing him this year so you can enjoy his company for years to come? It is not easy isolating. It is not easy losing a job over this. It is not easy changing our whole way of living. But I want to see my family for years to come, so am willing to sacrifice this years festivities for that. Yes, hospitals are setting up field units in parking lots and garages etc.., but who is going to staff them? The hospital staff are getting sick with quite a few dying across this country. People with other medical issues such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, seizures etc. are not receiving the care they require. People are not going to their doctor visits for fear of catching the virus since medical institutions are one of the top hotspots. I want to see my loved ones for years to come and so I will be alone having a lot of Zoom visits this year.

    by Colette — November 14, 2020

  15. Colette you are spot on. I’ll take your word about TB. As for the rest of your comments that’s exactly how I feel. Our local medical professionals have said for weeks now that the staff is tired. And our area has had fewer cases than many others. There are only so many doctors, nurses, and all the other people that make hospitals run to go around. No one has a crystal ball, but I’ll trade this year for hopefully many more.

    by Tess — November 14, 2020

  16. As a meme going around on the internet says: “We isolate now so that when we gather again, no one is missing.” Thanksgiving this year will be spent sharing holiday dinner via Zoom – with everyone safe in their own homes. With more than 181,000 cases yesterday, it would appear this virus is nothing to mess with. Or as someone said in a recent article: “You may be done with Covid, but it isn’t done with you.” Great choir singing about Covid:

    by JoannC — November 14, 2020

  17. I have to say that in a global pandemic is not about “personal choice”, that is the point! We are all connected and if people do whatever they want, they are showing a complete disrespect and disregard for the welfare and lives of their fellowmen and need to be called out. We show our respect by following guidelines and listening to science in a pandemic. The reason the pandemic is so out of control in the USA is because people falsely believe that individual choice takes precedent over the common good during a pandemic. Until more of us speak up and say that it is not respectful to disregard the guidelines, this pandemic will continue to surge. Sorry, but this is real and it is killing thousands of senior citizens and others every single day. It is not ok.

    by Maimi — November 14, 2020

  18. Collette, I completely agree with you. I was being sarcastic about the field hospitals being “good news”.

    by Maimi — November 14, 2020

  19. Maimi,

    I completely agree


    You are spot on! As a former health care provider I shake my head at the cavalier attitude towards the pandemic. And my heart goes out to all the health care workers on the front line who are overworked and risking their lives on a daily basis. I am so tired of the “me-itis” under the guise of “you’re taking my freedom away!” When did people stop caring about each other? I just don’t get it.

    by Fionna — November 15, 2020

  20. Health care workers can’t go on like this much longer:

    by Fionna — November 15, 2020

  21. Add my name to the list who think that not wearing a mask is totally selfish, appalling and could be criminal. If you don’t wear a mask, you should be charged with assault. If a Covid-19 death can be traced to you not wearing a mask, you should be charged with manslaughter.

    by RichPB — November 15, 2020

  22. Just got the alert — 4 coworkers on one of my kid’s non-Covid (oncology) ward just tested positive for Covid. Patients are being offered testing. Bizarre as it sounds, asymptomatic hospital staff isn’t being offered testing at this time due escalating staff and test shortages.

    I am frustrated with people who whine about personal rights, without a thought to the doctors and nurses they’ll expect to take care of them if the worst happens. I grew up hearing about how the whole country pulled together in WWII, incl. how rubber, sugar, butter and other products were rationed. Can you imagine how un-American it would have been if someone had stamped their foot and claimed it was their “right” to have baking products for holiday cookies, or new winter tires.
    Americans sacrificed (and mourned) together, no matter what their political persuasion. Today, MORE THAN HALF the number of Americans who died in WWII over the 4 years the U.S. was in the war, have died in from Covid in just 11 months. Following mask, social distancing and other mandates & sacrificing to help minimize the spread of Covid isn’t political — but it is patriotic to be unselfish, especially at a time when so many American families are being devastated by this pandemic.

    For what it’s worth, this rant offered on behalf of my kids who are on the front lines in health care.

    by Kate — November 15, 2020

  23. Maimi,

    Thanks for clarifying. But frankly it gave an opening for me to express the dire circumstances our healthcare workers are in. I think laypeople just dont realize our healthcare system is close to collapse. They don’t realize the mental and physical toll it is taking on our healthcare workers. These staff members can’t continue under this barrage. Such a simple thing as wearing a mask when in public could make such a dent in this, and yet it has been politicized. I wore a mask 8 to 12 hours a day many days throughout my career. It did not kill me and it did not change my political beliefs. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or an Independent, you need to be safe for you, and your loved one.

    by Colette — November 15, 2020

  24. Collette, I have doctors and nurses in my family and I agree. I have been tracking this closely here and there is a direct correlation between when they opened schools and the explosion of cases. Within 2 weeks of opening schools, cases doubled here. I truly believe that because it is mostly senior citizens and those with medical conditions that are dying, people have not taken this seriously. I think more of us need to speak up in our own families and social circles to say that not following the restrictions and not wearing a mask is not acceptable.

    by Maimi — November 15, 2020

  25. An interesting article about how big your bubble really is. Worth reading – and this is why this year’s Thanksgiving will be on Zoom:

    by JoannC — November 21, 2020

  26. JoannC, thanks for the fascinating read. I’ve thought in terms of who our non-resident family may have come in contact with, but the extensions are shocking! My wife and I are very high risk and will not be sharing the holidays with anyone. We are hopeful that good vaccines will release us– not from masks, but at least be able to visit some.

    We have not seen any family since February exyan outdoor, mas

    by RichPB — November 22, 2020

  27. We have not seen any family since February except a brief outdoor, masked visit with our daughter by herself — no sons or husband. We did take a trip to visit my wife’s ailing 97 yr old mother — brief, masked and we stayed overnight at a trustworthy hotel in a nearby town. .(The motel in town is a dump.). We did this before the holidays, alone and will not visit at all during the holidays. This has caused angst and tears and many doubts but we feel that there will hopefully be opportunities post covid-19.

    by RichPB — November 22, 2020

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