Planning holidays during a pandemic

Planning holidays during a pandemic is a tough feat. While news of COVID-19 vaccines brings a welcome light at the end of the tunnel, we still need to follow social distancing and mask recommendations until the vaccine is available to try to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our community safe.

To help employees safely navigate the holiday season, Balanced You has put together a list of resources and tips for fun and meaningful ways to celebrate. Read on for more information.

Dine safely with others

There are a few ways to eat safely with others this year through virtual gatherings, sharing meals with members of your household, and splitting cooking duty amongst other homes.

  • Gather virtually: Whether you live alone or would like to connect with loved ones near or far, hosting an online gathering allows for video celebration, customs, and holiday traditions. Consider picking a time when those joining can eat together, open gifts, sing songs, show off ugly sweaters, or participate in other traditions. If eating together, you can cook from a common menu to create a higher sense of togetherness.
  • Gather at home: If you live with others, consider eating together and designating times during the day for rest and fun, such as games, group exercise classes, or movies.
  • Share food with others: If you have neighbors, friends, or family nearby consider coordinating menus and sharing food potluck-style without entering each other’s homes. This will create a sense of community and alleviate pressure for each home to produce an entire multi-course meal.

Remember, gatherings with people from outside your home are not recommended. The Governor orders impose the following restrictions on gatherings:

  • Indoor social gatherings with people who do not live with you are prohibited, unless you quarantine for 14 days prior OR quarantine for seven days and receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people who do not live with you.

Connect online with loved ones near and far

Connection is an integral part of well-being and connection during the holiday season is especially important and there are a few ways it can happen safely. Whether you live alone or are missing friends and family, connecting virtually provides a platform for practicing old traditions and creating new ones. And masked socially-distancing outdoor gatherings in small groups provide an opportunity to move your body while connecting with others. Remember, this will not be the norm forever and creative ideas, such as those listed below, will go a long way in getting us through this pandemic.

  • Plan to virtually celebrate holiday traditions with loved ones. Start a group text or email to find out what time works for everyone and set up a plan to video call. If you don’t have holiday traditions with others, this is a good year to start. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch the faces of long-distance family when they open your gifts?
  • Coordinate a holiday movie night. A long-distance holiday movie night can provide additional opportunity for you and your loved ones to bond. Streaming services such as Netflix can be used to watch movies together. Or, if you are using Zoom, one person can play a movie and screen-share with others. Build in intermissions for snacks, bathroom breaks, and banter.
  • Connect outdoors. If you have family or friends who live in town, masked time outdoors can be a great way to connect. Consider a socially distanced hike in a park or an evening walk through a neighborhood to look at light displays. If walking doesn’t work for your group, consider caravanning with several cars through holiday light displays. Remember to keep outdoor in-person gatherings of different households to five people or fewer.

Participate in the Hope and Joy campaign

This holiday season, remember Balanced You’s Hope and Joy campaign is here to bring you platforms for light-hearted connection with others. There are a few ways to participate:

  • Submit a photo or video of something you find hopeful or joyful to Balanced You. We’ll share it with employees. To upload your audio or videos, click here and follow the instructions. If you’d prefer to send pictures for us to share, simply email the photos to
  • Encourage your team to participate in the Hope and Joy campaign together. Consider an ugly sweater contest, recipe sharing, or introducing pets and family to each other.
  • Join one of our Coffee Connection events to connect with other King County employees. Upcoming events are as follows:
TitleDescriptionDate/TimeMeeting Link and Passcode
Quarantine Holiday Celebrations  Share your unique ideas on how to get together and still social distance.December 16 10-10:30 a.m.Quarantine Holiday Celebrations PASSCODE: 524145
New Year’s ResolutionsHow do you want to bring in the New Year? We want to hear it!January 6 10-10:30 a.m.New Year’s Resolutions    PASSCODE: 618235

Balanced You wishes all King County employees a safe, joyful, and restful holiday, from our homes to yours.

Questions? Contact

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