How to put the social into social distancing

Journalist Raven Smith imagines what your Christmas party might look like this year

social distancing
(Image credit: Alamy)

December is the Christmas party season, but there’s nothing more antisocial than social distancing. This year there’ll be more red tape than tinsel, but that doesn’t mean a drab shindig. Think of yourself as a fairy godmother, your wand
the most recent governmental guidelines, magicking social bubbles into social baubles. You can have a lot of fun two metres apart. 

To begin with, manage guest expectation. Dress codes are passé, so encourage sparkle but expect athleisure in this climate of comfort. Annoyingly, Venetian masks only cover the eyes, but an apocalyptic theme can go a long way –there’s personal safety in a Blitz gas mask. Invited via a paperless emailed QR code, guests can Banksy their contact track and trace details on the windows in spray snow. Anyone refusing must Zoom into the party from outside. Treat each attendee to those little slippers you get at the spa (they can be incinerated in the morning). 

Canapés feel like an immediate no-no, and cutlery screams superspreader, but consider asking your guests to provide their own Nutribullet cups to hold a purée of festive foods. It’s always a thrill to sneak a Dettolled sixpence into a Christmas pudding, but maybe just watch the flambé part on YouTube like a budget Nigella. 

Forget the home bar, drinks could be vaporised and pumped into the air like a disco smoke machine. But if that’s too much of a faff, frozen cubes of sanitiser instead of ice do wonders for controlling the virus. A Martini glass in a rubber-gloved hand is its own reward. Whenever someone leaves a drink on a surface, Bunsen burner the spot. 

Parties need dancing because it’s the most freeing expression of the self, but it’s riddled with peer-to-peer transference so ban it like prohibition booze. Cancel music completely to limit any bopping. Foot-tapping to the silence warrants immediate ejection. Charades, silently acted out from behind a wall of Plexiglas, is the only pandemic-friendly game, or Twister in mandatory hazmat suits. 

At this point, guests should be losing themselves in the foodless, drinkless, musicless uber-fun you’ve created, you absolute legend. Emboldened by virtual eggnog people will want to hug goodbye, but encourage the fail-safe eroticism of a dental dam snog under the mistletoe. Despite the latent worry of Covid-19, romance can flourish. 

As the clock strikes midnight, it’s time to call it quits. Cinderella may have had a private pumpkin carriage, but a silent Uber and a decent mask will do.

See also: Home bar ideas - how to make Christmas merry by Jonathan Adler