Winter holiday travel is expected to be back with a vengeance this year; AAA estimates that more than 109 million Americans (nearly back to pre-pandemic levels) will be traveling between December 23 and January 2. If you'll be playing host with the most this year, here's 15 tips to make your event safe and stress-free. If you'll be the guest, we have a few tips for you too!
Plan (and cook!) ahead
Whether you're hosting a few friends or your entire extended family, planning ahead is the key to hosting a successful event. One that you can actually enjoy and spend time with your family instead of being trapped in the kitchen or racing around doing chores.
It’s all about the food. In the few days leading up to your guests' arrival, prepare as many “make-ahead meals” as possible, such as freezable soups and ready-to-bake cookies. Take an hour or two the day before to do the prep work for meals you can't cook ahead - chop veggies, marinate meat, slice bread. While the guests are there is also a great time to try out those “one pot”, Instant Pot and slow cooker recipes!
Don’t forget to stock the pantry so guests can help themselves for breakfasts and late-night snacks. Also, since sharing is NOT caring when it comes to COVID-19 and the flu, single serving snack pouches, bottled water and soda, and juice boxes for the kids, are definitely the way to go.
Guests staying for a few days? Preparing your guest room ahead of time by freeing up some closet or drawer space and supplying plenty of clean towels and toiletries will make them feel welcome.
The little things go a long way. Keep a scented candle and extra rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms, have spare phone and iPad chargers available, and have some soft music playing in the background.
Put those guests to work! Don’t worry about things being “just so,” and let the kids have fun helping with simple chores like setting the table. Ask whoever wakes up first to turn on the coffee maker or pull out that overnight breakfast casserole (that you prepped ahead of time!) out of the fridge and pop it in the oven.
Have a COVID-19 safety plan in place
According to a Connecticut state COVID-19 response article, while Connecticut has been a national leader in COVID-19 response efforts, the combination of winter, flu season, and COVID-19 does not make for a very happy holiday gathering. These tips can help you keep your family sniffle-free.
Don’t be afraid to screen your guests! Ask them to stay home if they’re not feeling well. Request that they take care to avoid contact with people outside their households for 14 days before the gathering to reduce the risks of spreading the virus. For those out-of-town visitors who were exposed to airports or other public transportation, a negative test result from a rapid self-test or walk-in clinic would drastically increase confidence in the safety of your gathering.
Don’t invite everyone over at the same time. By spreading the visits out over the week between Christmas and New Year’s, or by using a combination of in-person and virtual gatherings, you’ll be able to maintain enough distance between guests, even while indoors.
Spread your guests out. Use smaller tables in multiple rooms rather than crowding everyone around one large table. If you have the space, and maybe an outdoor heater, consider moving everyone outside periodically for some fresh air. Don’t forget to open the windows and let that fresh air into the house too!
Stocking up on toiletries for your guests? Don’t forget disposable face masks, hand sanitizers and tissues for guests who haven’t brought their own.
Use disposable, single-use plates, utensils, and to-go containers. It’s not as good for the environment, but it’s a good, short-term health safety measure.
Keep everyone home and avoid exposing your group to crowded places like restaurants, bars, or movie theaters.
Prevent a septic system emergency
If your visitors come from homes connected to public sewer systems, they probably aren’t as careful about what goes down their drains.
Prepare your septic tank in advance by scheduling an inspection – this way you won’t be hit with any surprises while your system is in higher demand than usual.
Talk to your guests about showing a little bit of extra care and caution while in your home, and be clear about what can (and what can’t!) go down your drains. If you want to prep your guests ahead of time, forward them this blog post so they know what NOT to put down your drains.
Between extra mouths to feed and hearty holiday meals, pay extra attention to what is going down your kitchen drains. Watch out that cooking grease or fat!
Balance your water usage. This is important for your septic system, but also for your well if your home uses well water. More people in the house means more showers, more toilets flushing, more clothes in the washing machine... It’s important to spread out these activities so your septic system isn’t flooded. (Note: Another benefit to using disposable plates and utensils is you won't use water running the dishwasher!)
If you need us, we’ll be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!
Be a great guest
If you're the one visiting this year, here's a few tips so you can have a wonderful time and be a great guest too.
Safety first! If you're a traveler, offer to follow our pre-party screening tips without your host having. to ask. Be extra careful in the weeks leading up to the event. Offer to take a rapid test to show you probably aren't infected. If you can't social distance easily, wear a mask. And remember to wash, wash, wash your hands! Especially if you offer to help with the cooking!
Call ahead and see if there is anything you can bring. Maybe your host forgot ice, so you can stop and grab some on your way. Or if you have a great slow cooker recipe, bring the ingredients with you and take over the kitchen for a night!
Pick up after yourself (as well as your kids and/or pets). When it's your turn to host, you won't want to spend all your time tidying up after everyone else. So help out by keeping your guest room, bathrooms and gathering areas tidy!
Try to visit with everyone. Don't sit in the same corner of the sofa all day. Spend a little quality time with everyone.
Know whether your host's home is connected to the public sewer system or if they have a septic system. Don't be the reason why we have to crash your party!
Help out where you can. Tidy up toys from the kids (even if they aren't your own), gather up used plates and other trash, make the coffee in the morning, restock paper towel and toilet paper...there's a lot you can do to make your visit less stressful for your host!
Don't forget to breathe
The holidays can be stressful, whether you're hosting or visiting. Remember to take a few moments for yourself whenever you can and call us if you run into any trouble. Just trouble with your septic or sewer though – we can’t help with that pie crust about to burn in your oven. Err, did you forget to set a timer?
We’ve got your back
If you do end up needing to call a pro…we’d love to be your team! We’re open for emergencies 24/7, even weekends and holidays. Experience the ADB Septic Advantage today.Call us at (860) 432-5996 or visit us online at adbseptic.com.