How to have a COVID-friendly Christmas dinner

Six easy steps to get ready for a COVID-friendly Christmas dinner.

As we are closely approaching the end of the year, we begin to reflect on the possible ways that we could enjoy this period safely with our loved ones. While a simple look at the many decorations outside can make us feel the Christmas spirit, it is certain that holidays will be a bit different this year. As a result, the process of organising a Christmas dinner will also need to be adapted to the current situation, by keeping in mind the current government guidelines in your local area. For this reason, hosting a safe Christmas gathering will be a bit more challenging than in previous years. To make this process a little bit easier and to give you some inspiration ahead of time, we have 6 tips for having a COVID-friendly Christmas dinner.

Hosting a safe Christmas gathering will be a bit more challenging than in previous years.

1. Create a transition area

This could be an area at the entrance of your home, or just before the main reception area. In this area, guests can sanitise their hands and leave their shoes, coats, and bags before entering. In this way, you can minimise the contact between outdoor objects and indoor surfaces, which have already been cleaned. Make sure to provide this area with plenty of hand sanitisers, disinfectant tissues, and maybe even a few spare masks for your guests.

2. Increase ventilation

The simplest way that this could be done is by opening windows more frequently, for example, for ten minutes every fifteen minutes. If you do have air conditioning, to ensure its effect on safety, you could check that it does not only circulate the air that is already in the room but that it also brings in fresh air from outside, replacing the indoor one at a certain timeframe. To increase the effectiveness of the ventilation in your house, you could even measure the amount of CO2 present in the air and keep your windows open accordingly, or purchase an air purifier with HEPA filters that will filter out unwanted particles1.

3. Optimise the circulation

First and foremost, ensure that your dining table has plenty of space around it, so that people are less likely to come too close to each other while taking their seats or when leaving the table. For example, you could place the dining table in an area that is as open as possible, and you could try to avoid one that has a narrow corridor leading up to it. Alternatively, you could try to move away any furniture that is along corridors, or that create a pinched tight space for passing on the way to the table.

Holidays will be slightly different this year and, unfortunately, that is beyond our power.

4. Implement social distancing

The easiest way you could do this is by placing the seats at the dinner table farther away from each other, to give your guests plenty of space for social distancing. To make this happen, you might want to make sure that you have a big enough table, or you could consider combining two tables and give your guests more space in this way.

5. Adapt your dinner

Your meal can also be served in a way that minimises unnecessary contact between people: you could avoid sharing the same cutlery, as well as food. For instance, you could aim to have separate dipping pots and to place your condiments into smaller cups as well, and you could separate your starter platters into different plates beforehand. In other words, you could have a pre-plated dinner. Additionally, you could aim to have as much of the food, drinks, and spices already on the table in order to minimise the circulation of yourself and your guests in and out of the kitchen, especially if it is not an open kitchen.

6. Consider placing your dining table outside

This could be another way to ensure social distancing, as well as that the air you and your guests breathe is as fresh and safe as possible. This could be either done by using a backyard, a balcony, or a green area in the proximity of your home. To keep your guests warm, use outdoor heaters and have some warm drinks with festive flavours ready, such as mulled wine, hot chocolate, or tea.

While we are architects and our expertise is in spatial and interior design arrangements2, we hope that these tips for having a safe dinner at home will come in handy this Christmas. Holidays will be slightly different this year and, unfortunately, that is beyond our power. What we can be in control of is our own enjoyment and our own safety, which is also the biggest priority during this time. Even though the number of visitors that we will be able to receive in our homes is limited, video calls will help us feel connected to our loved ones before we can meet them again in person.

Until then, we wish you happy holidays and a better 2021!

If you would like to know more about how we can help redesign your home during the pandemic so that you can adapt your daily routine to the current social distancing measures more easily, then get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you might have.

1. https://theconversation.com/how-to-use-ventilation-and-air-filtration-to-prevent-the-spread-of-coronavirus-indoors-143732

2. The ideas presented in this article do not substitute and are not supported by medical advice or scientific research. These are simply a few of our ideas that you can consider and research further on your own.

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