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How to safely spend Christmas during COVID-19

It's the time of year when we want to be with the ones we love, but when this holiday is coupled with a pandemic, traditions can't be the same.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We've seen the surge after Halloween, we've seen the surge after Thanksgiving, and one of the state's top doctors says she is "very worried" we will see this same pattern following Christmas. 

So, how do you still celebrate this holiday while keeping your family and fellow Arkansans safe?

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We all know it's the time of year when we want to be with the ones we love, but when the holiday is coupled with a pandemic that is taking the lives of Arkansans every day, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health said traditions can't be the same.

"I would love for them to have a wonderful Christmas and I would encourage them to use this time to reconnect with family and friends, but do it safely," she said. 

Dillaha said doing it safely means not traveling, but spending time with just the people inside your home.

If you decide to celebrate all together, make sure you do it outside and that the group isn't bigger than 10 people. 

"The more people you have, if there is someone there that has COVID-19, the more likely you will have a large number of people who are infected," she said. 

Even when you start diving into that Christmas feat, you need to do it a little differently. 

According to Dillaha, stay away from a "buffet style" and have one person plating all the food. 

"It's going to be really important for people to wear their mask when they're not eating or drinking and to arrange the food and place settings in such a way that people can be as far away from each other as really feasible," she said.

Dr. Dillaha wants to remind Arkansans, this is still a season of hope and hope is on its way with the vaccine, but we can't give up just yet.

"We all need to encourage one another, find other ways to say 'I love you' and protect one another, because that really is what love is all about," she said.

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Dillaha also wants to everyone to remember the 3 W's while you're celebrating on Christmas Day: wash your hands, watch your distance, and wear your mask.