No hugging, carols or mistletoe: What experts advise for a safe Christmas

Christmas will be different this year. Credit: PA

The Government's scientific advisers have offered guidance on what should and should not be done within bubbles at Christmas.

Even though people have been given licence to form a bubble consisting of three households over the festive period, Sage have advised on how potential risks can be limited.

Among all the merriment over Christmas, it could be difficult to remember we are still in the middle of an epidemic.

The risks of playing traditional games, singing carols and even kissing under the mistletoe should be considered before planning your domestic festivities.

Those hosting Christmas are advised to create a household plan to limit the chances of the virus being passed around by those present.

Even as a starting point, those wishing to get together at Christmas should keep interactions to a minimum in the seven to 14 days into the run-up to forming their bubble, to reduce the potential of catching Covid-19 and then infecting those in attendance for festivities.

It is advised the fewest people possible should attend and any event should last for a shortest duration feasible. If possible, all meetings should take place online.

Christmas get-togethers should take place in the biggest setting available, i.e. those with the largest house and table should host in order to allow social distancing to continue to some extent.

If possible, events should be hosted in larger buildings, such as community halls or unused business premises, according to the advisers.

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan breaks down the scientific advice

Alternatively, activities should take place outside on pedestrianised streets or golf courses.

Windows should be kept open to aid ventilation, which is easier said than done in December, while also those in attendance should clean their hands upon arrival and people should be encouraged to wear masks when possible, if they feel comfortable doing so.

As with current advice, although this is being removed between December 23 and 27, people should not hug or shake hands with those from another household.

At the Christmas dinner table buffets should be avoided and the passing of dishes should be limited, meaning it would be better if one person plated up.

Events outside are preferable. Credit: PA

Ensuring all crockery and cutlery is freshly cleaned is essential and when finished put them immediately into hot soapy water.

Singing is advised against due to the release of aerosols into the atmosphere, meaning carols should not be sung.

Games which mean passing objects or physical contact should not take place, nor should people dance as the exertion will result in further exhaling.

Finally, one should not get the Yellow Pages out and kiss someone under the mistletoe as that has all sorts of health risks in this climate.