Socially Responsible Celebrations: Tips on Attending and Hosting

Despite vaccinations, COVID is still a concern globally, especially for those groups and individuals that are more susceptible. For this reason, as we move into fall and winter, it’s important to stay mindful as we begin to host and attend holiday parties, as well as any other celebrations and events. Hosting socially responsible gatherings and being a mindful attendee can go a long way towards keeping things safe and enjoyable for everyone. 

Whether you are hosting or attending a celebration, there are steps you can take to create a safe environment in addition to local and federal guidelines. Doing your part as a responsible host will show that you care and are taking necessary precautions to ensure everyone is comfortable and has a good time. Additionally, being a responsible guest shows that you respect the host and other guests by doing what you can to reduce risks as much as possible.

1. Do a Deep Clean

Your usual cleaning and tidying routine before a party likely won’t cut it with COVID still hanging around. As a host, it is your job to ensure the comfort and safety of your guests, which means going the extra mile to ensure that all spaces and surfaces receive a thorough disinfecting. Pay special attention to areas where germs tend to linger most, such as the kitchen and bathrooms. 

Keeping sanitizing wipes out and readily available, as well as hand sanitizer, will also help you maintain a clean space and clean hands throughout the event. Lighting candles or using any other inviting scents can also help guests feel more comfortable and relaxed. Little touches like this show that you have put thought and effort into creating a safe and welcoming environment and your guests will appreciate it. 

2. Provide Masks

It is ultimately up to you as the host whether you want to require masks at your event or not. However, whatever you decide, having a box of disposable masks available for when guests arrive will show that you respect their safety and comfort. Some guests may bring their own, but some guests may forget and will appreciate your thoughtfulness in providing spares. 

As someone attending a party or event, you should always respect the host’s wishes and wear a mask if they require it. However, if they are not demanding that guests wear them, it is still a good idea to bring one just in case. While you may feel safe before you arrive, you might find that you feel uncomfortable without one once you are there. 

3. Limit the Number of Guests

When collecting indoors in more confined spaces, experts still recommend smaller gatherings if possible. The smaller the numbers, the easier it is to keep guests socially distant and avoid spreading germs around. And as a guest, you shouldn’t invite others to come along with you without checking with the host first. You never know how many are already planning to attend, and the host may feel uncomfortable if you bring someone along that they are unfamiliar with. 

Certain events, such as baby showers, where guests are potentially at higher risk, will particularly benefit from keeping invite numbers down. Those who are pregnant or have other small children and infants may feel uncomfortable and unsafe with too many other guests around. However, no matter what kind of event you are hosting, fewer guests can help ensure everyone stays safe and has a good time. 

4. Make it Virtual

Having virtual events over zoom or other platforms and apps are doable and a safer alternative. There are many ways you can get creative hosting a zoom event, and it may turn out more enjoyable than you’d think. 

Virtual Christmas parties, for example, can still bring that sense of cheer if you put in the thought and effort. Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean you can’t still set the mood by putting up some decorations, throwing on some seasonal tunes, and sporting your fanciest holiday outfit. 

Weddings, as well, are other typically large events that can benefit from going virtual instead. Not only does it eliminate concern about exposure, but those who might otherwise have been unable to attend for various reasons might now be able to witness your marriage more easily from the comfort of their own home. It’s also cheaper to host a virtual wedding, of course, meaning more money for your honeymoon or other things you want to invest in as a couple. 

5. Contain Food and Snacks

Buffet-style serving and having open containers, trays, and bowls of snacks available will spread germs more easily. Instead, have only a couple of individuals in charge of making plates and serving them to guests. Or, if you really want to still have snacks set out, individually wrap or package everything in small baggies or containers with individual portion sizes. You can also ask your guests to refrain from gathering around the food if more than one or two people are already standing there.  

6. Use Disposable Products

Instead of providing hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen, use disposable napkins and paper towels instead. Hand towels that guests use over and over again are a breeding ground for bacteria. Disposable is best. Remember to keep antibacterial soap, sprays, wipes, and hand sanitizer readily available as well. 

As a guest, utilize the cleaning products and sanitizer available to you. No matter how safe you feel, you never know if someone else at the party is more susceptible to catching sick. It’s also simply good manners to respect the host and their wishes, as well as appreciating the extra effort and care they have put into making you and others feel welcome and comfortable. 

7. Utilize Conscious Gifting Practices

Depending on the type of event, providing gifts or bringing gifts are thoughtful ways to show you care both as a host and as a guest. However, the more outside products brought into a party, the more chances there are of bringing unwanted germs with them. Instead, practice conscious gifting by asking guests to give e-gifts instead, such as e-cards and digital gift cards. E-gifts are not only great for reducing the spread of germs, but they are also a more ethical choice by helping to reduce consumption and harmful packaging as well. 

If you make smart decisions and take the necessary precautions, there is no reason why you can’t host or attend a celebration or two, or three, this holiday season. Even beyond the holidays, putting a little extra effort and care into a gathering not only keeps your guests safe but it shows how thoughtful you are. And a little thought and effort will have your guests smiling, and laughing, and looking forward to the many celebrations to come in the future.

Indiana Lee

Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors on a regular basis. Indiana loves experiencing new things and sharing with others what she learns through her writing. You can chat with Indiana on twitter @IndianaLee3