From wrapping paper to roast potatoes: experts share tips on having a Covid-safe Christmas

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 12:07 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 12:20 pm

Families in the UK will be able to form bubbles this Christmas, but with all the extra people in the household what are the best ways of keeping the house Covid safe this festive season?

Whether it’s limiting the number of people in the kitchen, or avoiding wrapping paper, here are some of the experts' top tips on how to stay safe inside during Christmas this year.

Don’t forget to let some air in

Opening the windows during the Winter doesn’t seem like the smartest of ideas, but fresh air will help dilute any virus in a crowded room.

A report from Sage said infection risks can be increased by four times without proper ventilation.

Open the windows in the morning to air out the house, and if people get too cold make sure they wrap up warm in another layer.

Wrapping paper

If you are giving presents to people outside your immediate bubble it might be better to opt for the brown paper bag, instead of shiny wrapping paper.

Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch informed the public that they should not worry about wrapping presents for loved ones outside of their immediate bubble, due to the virus dying ‘very quickly’ on rougher surfaces.

Professor Leitch said: “The virus spreads from person to person and from surface to surface.

“It likes shinier surfaces better than rough surfaces: it likes glass, plastic worktops and it also quite likes shared utensils but it doesn’t like wrapping paper, cards, envelopes, post.

“It dies very quickly on rougher surfaces such as that so you shouldn’t worry about Christmas presents in any deep, real way.”

Hand Sanitiser at gift unwrapping

A safe way of limiting the viral spread on Christmas Day is to have hand sanitiser at the ready during the unwrapping of presents.

Professor Jason Leitch also advised that people should wash their hands before and after presents being handed over.

The Christmas meal

The Christmas meal may have to face some alterations this year.

Passing around dishes and bottles is part of the Christmas tradition, however this year it can risk contamination. Because the virus can survive on surfaces, experts recommend having one person do all the serving.

Professor Leitch said: “I wouldn’t have a big bowl of roast potatoes with one spoon in it that all six, seven, eight people share so that should probably be served somewhere else and then served on the plate.

“That kind of minute guidance is not going to be written down by the government - we’re not going to be telling you exactly how you should serve your roast potatoes.”

The US official advice for this year’s Thanksgiving dinners also recommends that people should control who is allowed in the kitchen.

Professor Cath Noaks, a specialist in airborne infections, also advises that people keep as far apart as possible during indoor meals.

Limit the length of time indoors

Just because the rules allow three households to mix indoors, it doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time.

Shorter visits are safer than staying for hours.

One way of keeping this in check is by arranging a time limit before Christmas dinner and sticking to it.

Go outdoors

Although the temperature may not be the warmest, experts have advised spending time outdoors can be a great way of having a safe Christmas.

However, if you are out for a traditional Boxing Day walk it is important to remember social distancing. Although the risks of transmission are lower outside, two metres form other households is still recommended.