What's The Risk Of Giving Gifts Around The Holidays?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 7:41 AM, Dec 01, 2020

As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate. 

We asked the experts, what’s the risk giving gifts around the holidays?

Their take: giving gifts is low risk.

"It's not what you do, it's how you do it. You still want to be cautious that if you're giving gifts, you're being respectful of those social distances and masking up if you're giving them in person. I would suggest the drive by drop off where you can have some engagement, but maintain those physical distances, give those gifts and enjoy that holiday spirit," Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said.  

"I think that is safe and is something that we can still all actively participate in this season. With good hand hygiene and hand sanitizer use before and after opening things, as you have been doing with everything, especially if you don't pause and not take that right after, say, your postman delivers it or FedEx or whomever it may be," Dr. Kelly Cawcutt, infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, said.

"There's really not a lot transmitted through that. There's wrapping paper and stuff anyway. So you're taking some of that off. So I'm not too concerned about that. Even sending through gifts through the mail and things really probably low risk there. It's really that person to person being in that same room for that 15 minutes or greater. That's really where that risk starts to go up," Dr. Irfan Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine, said. 

"If you want to sit around the tree, you know, Christmas morning with somebody who's not your household contact, that's going to be a much higher risk, bordering moderate to high risk. And I'd say that's avoidable," Gonsenhauser

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit