ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The holidays can be a stressful time for people. Having to limit gatherings and putting visits with relatives or family members on hold due to coronavirus guidelines can be especially stressful for those who want a “picture perfect” holiday.

Focusing on the positives and using creativity are the ways people can keep spirits up as well as traditions alive this holiday season, according to Dr. Julie Morison, Psychologist, Founder, and Director of HPA/LiveWell.

It’s imperative that people not fall victim to a negative attitude. Women can sometimes have a picture in their minds of what the holidays are “supposed” to look and/or feel like. Regardless, this year will look and feel different for everyone, Dr. Morison said.

To those struggling with whether to gather with family and friends, keeping an open mind and embracing new experiences like using technology can help keep traditions intact, create a feeling of warmth and lead the way to new traditions.

It’s about looking at needs versus wants and long-term goals. Dr. Morison said families can fall back on the science, facts, and guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state.

The CDC has also created a web page that highlights additional ways to stay safe during the holidays. They suggest wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, dining outside, opening windows if dining inside, and wiping down frequently touched surfaces regularly. More information is available on their website.

Activities by risk according to the CDC

Low Risk

  • Dining only with people living in your home.
  • Hosting a virtual meal for extended family and friends.
  • Preparing traditional dishes to deliver safely to family and neighbors.
  • Shopping Black Friday sales online instead of at the mall.
  • Catching football games and parades at home.

Moderate Risk

  • Dining with a few people living outside of your home. Lower the risk further by feasting outdoors like a cookout or plating people’s food to avoid multiple hands in serving bowls.
  • Attending sports events even with safety precautions in place.

High Risk (should be avoided)

  • Shopping in crowded stores.
  • Traveling through crowded airports or roadside rest stops.
  • Attending crowded sporting events or parades.
  • Going to large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household.

Christina Arangio’s interview with Dr. Julie Morison