Sleighbells are ringing, and snow is falling, but the concern over COVID-19 still hasn’t gone away entirely. There is a way to enjoy the holidays while still staying safe. All it takes is some careful planning.

Filling your online calendar with safe Christmas events doesn’t need to be a hassle. These 9 tips can help you plan out the perfect COVID Christmas:

1. Look Into Virtual Events

For many families, large Christmas events are a holiday staple. From malls to movie theaters and even theme parks decked out in lights, this year might be a good idea to try an alternative. Virtual events can provide a safer alternative while still providing some holiday entertainment.

There are plenty of Holiday concerts, holiday events, and even virtual Santas you can find through a little internet search. Add one of these activities to your online calendar, and you’ll be safe and warm while still enjoying the feeling of the holidays.

You can also create your own virtual event as a family. This way, you can connect with grandparents and at-risk family members without exposing them to COVID-19.

2. Keep Things Clean

The key to keeping any illness at bay is proper cleanliness. Regularly cleaning surfaces throughout the holidays will reduce the spread of germs and disease during festivities. Providing hand sanitizer for guests will also help hands clean at all times.

A good clean before and after family and guests arrive — and masking and distancing are the surest way to keep everything COVID free. Be sure to touch things up while people are in your home, but don’t let it distract you from spending quality time with your loved ones.

3. Spend More Time Outside

Despite the biting cold, spending time outside can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 thanks to the open space and fresh air. There are plenty of fun winter activities you can participate in as long as you bundle up, and your risk of exposure will be a lot lower.

Go skiing, sledding, or have a snowball fight. Any outdoor activities can make for fun Christmas memories that you might want to replicate long after COVID-19 is gone. No matter what you choose, an outdoor activity will be safer during COVID.

4. Isolate Before Visits

If you plan to spend a lot of time visiting family, consider self-isolating in the days before their arrival. This ensures that you won’t be spreading any illness you might have — even if you’re asymptomatic and avoid exposure before loved ones roll in.

This strategy works best if everyone can do some quarantining before holiday parties and get-togethers. While not a perfect system, it will definitely increase the odds that everyone stays safe and COVID-free while spending time together.

5. Avoid Finger Foods

For the gatherings you do have, it’s best to provide food that doesn’t require a lot of touching. Finger foods that draw in every guest aren’t exactly the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19, as delicious as they may be. Focus on individual meals instead.

If finger foods are a family tradition, you can’t let go of, find a new way to make it work. Provide everyone with their own serving of caramel popcorn and sugar cookies to prevent hungry fingers from getting into another’s COVID free space.

Those preparing Christmas meals should also be extra careful. Wearing a mask and gloves allows cooks to prepare food without putting anyone at risk of COVID-19 if they happen to have been exposed to it.

6. Rely on Online Shopping

What’s Christmas without some presents wrapped under the tree? Holiday shopping is fun for both those who give and those who receive. This year, focus your attention on the internet to get your shopping done without the crowds.

Online shopping reduces a lot of the contact and proximity that spreads COVID-19. For extra precaution, you can sanitize any packages you receive before wrapping them up. Better safe than sorry after all.

7. Carol the Safe Way

After a tumultuous year, everyone could use some holiday cheering up. An age-old tradition this time of year is Christmas caroling, which can still be done with a twist this year. It could really brighten up the day of friends, family, and neighbors.

A socially distanced choir geared up in sweaters and masks will be a welcome sight six feet away from your front door. The songs and gifts you can provide for people will help this year-end on a much higher note.

8. Reduce Travel and Be Careful

Travelling presents a lot of unknowns when it comes to curbing the spread of COVID-19. Cutting down on travel or simply driving non-stop to avoid public areas drastically reduces your chance of contracting the virus.

However, for some families, COVID will not stop them from reuniting with loved ones after a long year. For those brave travelers, be careful. Family is well-worth the annual trip; just be sure to follow proper safety precautions so that everyone stays safe and healthy.

9. Keep Groups Small

The fewer people in a gathering, the less likely COVID-19 is to be passed around. This will be tough to manage with a big family, but having different locations and events can help. Just be sure to make time to see everyone over Christmas break.

Shorter meetings also help reduce exposure to COVID-19. When possible, try to keep things short and sweet without rushing the holiday fun. It’s worth the sacrifice if it keeps your family safe.

Don’t let COVID-19 ruin your Christmas. Your holiday may not be as happy as years past — but be safe and be smart, and make this a wonderful holiday anyway!