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For those with family and friends at close distance, holiday gatherings are much simpler. Without the need to travel, you can save time, money and avoid the risk of exposure to contagious germs and illnesses. However, even keeping a small, local gathering can be safer with some simple logistics. Here are some ideas for how to plan and host a safe and responsible holiday dinner gathering.
Try a Cafeteria-Style Buffet
Many people use the buffet approach for serving guests at food-focused holiday gatherings. However, the traditional buffet setup requires multiple people using the same utensils over and over, possibly passing germs from one guest to the next. One way to mitigate this health issue while still enjoying the convenience of the buffet is to have a designated server portion out the food on each plate. This person can remain on the other side of the table and serve food as each guest goes down the line. This means only one person is touching the serving utensils, making it far easier to keep germs in check.
Pre-Portion Each Plate
Another convenient and health-conscious method of serving food is to serve portions onto each plate in advance. Each guest will only need to choose a plate and find a seat—no serving utensils or buffet tables involved. As the host, you can portion out the food yourself or have a designated helper do it for you. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have one person handle all the serving at once. Have plates available for anybody with dietary restrictions or preferences set aside, as well.
Use Disposable Dishes & Utensils
Using disposable plates, bowls and utensils means no washing dishes at the end of the party. It also means less potential for passing around contaminants. To keep the mess under control, make sure trash or recycling receptacles are conveniently located so guests can throw things away as soon as they’re finished. To reduce waste, opt for compostable utensils and dishes. These will break down much more easily and help the environment while also keeping your guests safe and healthy.
Take It Outside
Weather permitting, consider taking your holiday gathering outdoors. The increased airflow of a patio or backyard gathering means your guests don’t have to breathe the same air for the entire event. It usually means more opportunity for social distancing, especially if you forgo the formal dining setup. For chilly climates, you can always get portable heating lamps or fireplaces to keep the guests cozy and safe.
These are just a few simple ways to make sure your holiday gathering is safe and fun. Now you can bring friends and family together responsibly and healthily by making some easy changes.