• The CDC released a list of safety measures everyone should observe when celebrating the holidays this year
  • Wearing face masks and frequent handwashing are still the two most effective ways to combat COVID-19
  • Reaching out to other people during this holiday season could help one manage stress

The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant change in society's way of living, and people are just starting to adapt to the so-called "new normal." Luckily, there are ways to stay safe while celebrating the Christmas season amid the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared 10 tips to ensure that everyone remains healthy and safe, regardless of whether they're spending the holidays alone or with the company of other people.

1. Wash hands often to prevent the spread of germs

The need to sanitize one's hands cannot be overemphasized, especially when spending time with people from other households. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

2. Manage stress

Spending the holidays without immediate family and friends can feel unusual this time of year, but everyone should give themselves a break when the stress is starting to overwhelm them.

One of the best ways to manage stress is by reaching out to loved ones and getting support from them. Getting plenty of sleep also plays a huge role in managing one's stress and emotions.

3. Don't drink and drive

Putting oneself or anyone else in danger on the road is sure to be the last thing on anyone's wish list, so make sure not to drive with alcohol in the system.

4. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle

Aside from not driving while drunk, make sure that everyone is buckled up safely when inside the vehicle. If one is traveling with children, make sure they are using a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt required for their height, weight and age. No matter how short the trip, it is imperative to take the necessary safety measures.

5. Get your vaccinations

Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives, so the CDC advises anyone 6 months and older to get regular vaccine shots each year.

An angel wearing PPE on top of the Christmas tree at UMass Memorial Hospital on December 4, 2020 in Worcester, Massachusetts
An angel wearing PPE on top of the Christmas tree at UMass Memorial Hospital on December 4, 2020 in Worcester, Massachusetts AFP / allison dinner

6. Prepare food safely

In addition to COVID-19 safety measures, which include not sharing one's utensils, make sure to wash hands and surfaces often to avoid cross-contamination. Cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate them promptly to keep them from going bad.

7. Practice fire safety

A majority of residential fires occur during the winter months, so avoid leaving fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves or candles unattended. It is also important to have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.

8. Eat healthily and stay active

Get the right nutrients for the body by eating fruits and vegetables. These types of food help nourish the body as well as protect it from certain diseases.

Limit intake of foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. Scientists recommend being active for at least two and a half hours a week.

9. Consider the risks

For those planning to travel to celebrate with loved ones from different households, consider the place and the duration of the gathering before going. It is best to be aware of the situation so one can anticipate possible inconveniences and plan ahead.

10. Wear face masks as often as one can

On top of following all the previously stated guidelines, wearing a face mask is one of the most simple yet effective ways to combat the spread of the coronavirus.