How To Create Social Distanced Dining For The Holidays

The holiday season is the one time of year where it’s normal to get together with our family and create memories together. We’re all longing for comfort in our favorite dishes and traditions, but this year, the holidays are going to look a little different. The coronavirus pandemic has made socially distancing an everyday thing, so there are some things to consider if you are planning to have a safe festive gathering. We’ve put together a few strategies to create social distanced dining for the holidays to alleviate the family drama.

Think About Your Guest List.

The holiday season will always be a time to connect with our family members, but, because this year, we’re enforcing social distancing to keep everyone safe, you might want to ask your Uncle David, who you only see every other year, to visit you next year instead. You may want to consider inviting just a few people outside of your immediate family this year.

Brown dining table and brown dining chairs in an outdoor lifestyle setting by El Dorado Furniture

Pictured: Neilina Brown Rectangular Dining Table

The Outdoors Is Your New Dining Room.

We encourage you to host your dinner outdoors on your patio or balcony. A dining experience outside gives everyone enough space and fresh air to gather with loved ones while also keeping a safe distance.

If you have an outdoor or side entrance, you can make it welcoming for your guests by decorating the path with fall accessories and adding signs that invite everyone to head straight to your backyard!

Brown dining table and brown dining chairs in an outdoor lifestyle setting by El Dorado Furniture

Pictured: Trenton 5-Piece Patio Set

Tables Are Everything.

There are a couple of ways you can set up dining tables in your outdoor space to encourage social distancing.

  1. Put several tables together or get a long dining table to extend your social distancing seating. You can space out the plates on the table and add name cards so there’s enough room for each of your guests without getting too close to each other.
  2. Separate a few small tables. You can even assign tables by each family. For example, if your cousins and their kids are all living together in the same house and they’ve been doing virtual school and working from home and don’t really see anyone outside of their household, then it’s safe to allow them to all sit together. 
Gray napkin with name card on white plate on wooden dining table

Decorate Your Table With Single Use Cutlery and Centerpieces.

You can add decorations that will make your table safe and special.

Using single-use plates and utensils will be the easiest set-up for your outdoor holiday dinner. But if you don’t want to use disposable place settings, you can buy a separate set of plates and utensils that will just be used for this meal, or you can ask your guests to bring their own, making it a Bring Your Own Plate kind of party (BYOP)! 

Hand sanitizers are the new centerpiece. You can integrate sanitizer throughout the table such as inside a flower pot or on a tray with accessories. This makes for a clever decoration, and it gives your guests easy access to washing their hands. Travel sanitizers are a great size to include because it can be your guests’ “gift.”

Traditional centerpieces such as candles, vases, and bowls also help keep your guests spaced out.

Pictured: Punta Tray

Serve It Up (Separately).

There are a few different ways you can get your food served to everyone.

Set up your food in a buffet style. This allows you to either:

  • Designate one person to be the server to avoid multiple people grabbing serving spoons and forks.
  • Have one person go up to serve themselves at a time, while wearing their mask.
  • Place a hand sanitizer right next to the food so they can be sure to clean their hands before touching any of the platters and serving spoons.

And when it comes to beverages, you can set up a cocktail bar, so everyone can be their own bartender! First, make sure there’s hand sanitizer and or disinfectant wipes available. Next, you can set up a separate table with glasses or disposable cups on a tray, an ice bucket with a scoop, and alcohol and any mixers such as seltzer and soda next to each other so it’s easy for your guests to mix their drinks. This is a convenient and safe way to make cocktails. 

Close up of woman in black shirt holding hand sanitizer bottle
Bread and pie on wooden board and white plate on wood table with pinecones

Simplified Trash.

Set up a variety of trash cans so your guests have options for throwing away trash in a nearby bin.

Set Up A Bathroom Sign.

Your guests will need to use the bathroom while they spend a few hours in your outdoor area, so you can make it easier for them by setting up a sign on one of the patio doors with an arrow pointing to the bathroom.

Chalkboard signs in wooden chest box

We All Have A Sweet Tooth.

To make dessert an easy process, you can get single-serving dessert dishes. We think mini pies, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies are just perfect.

Close up of berry pies

Clean, Clean, Clean.

At the end of the night, do a thorough clean-up. Wipe everything down with disinfectant wipes, including door handles, commonly touched surfaces, and light switches.

Cleaning supplies on wood table

If All Else Fails, Go Virtual And Get Techie.

We’re not judging you, and no one else should, so if you are not comfortable having family over, you can hold a small get together with anyone who lives with you, and celebrate virtually with your family over FaceTime or Zoom. You can pick a virtual background or set up decorations in the background to give your virtual dining a personal touch for the holidays. Cardboard cutouts are also a fun addition!

When you’re hosting your virtual holiday dinner, it’s even easier for you to stream it from your phone or laptop onto a bigger screen like your TV with Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast. 

Mug with black and silver MacBook Pro displaying a group of people on Zoom app

If you need any outdoor furniture for your backyard holiday dinner, you can shop at our online store or visit a showroom near you in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, Collier, and Pinellas counties! Show off your holiday style by tagging us on Instagram @eldoradofl with hashtag #MyEDFHome for a chance to be featured on our page!

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