By Sophia Mazer
Believe it or not, 2020 is coming to an end.
Thanksgiving has passed, COVID-19 is still here, and the winter holidays are only days away. This year, we all need to be safe during the holidays, which means they will have to look and feel different.
Coronavirus cases were down earlier in the year, but they exploded as the weather got colder and people gathered for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now, many are deciding how they can celebrate the Christmas season. Health experts continue to warn that if precautions are not taken, the virus will further spread and our hospitals won’t be able to treat sick patients.
So what should you expect for the winter holidays? Well, it’s quite obvious that this year’s version are not going to be “normal.” As sad as that is, the changes are for the public’s well-being. We are all part of the public and have a role to play in protecting ourselves, our families, and others.
When doctors and other experts from the front-lines say to stay home and celebrate with those you are around all the time (read: people in your own home), they mean it. Hospitals are filling up and are short of beds and staff. Medical workers have families of their own and are not immune to the virus. By celebrating smartly, we’re helping them get through the winter.
Despite these warnings, another large outbreak is expected after New Years. We saw what happened from Thanksgiving, when local cases went from a couple of hundred each day to sometimes over a thousand, and now we are entering a colder and snowier stretch that features several days of celebrations Predictions are the situation will get much worse, but it does not have to.
We can all stay home and celebrate with extended family members virtually. It might be normal, but when you consider that many families have lost loved ones this years, it doesn’t sound so bad. We just cannot celebrate like we normally do, with large parties and packed houses and multiple places to visit on the same day.
We have to remember that other people will be affected by our actions. It’s true that COVID-19 can be nothing for some, the sniffles for others, and deadly to people who are vulnerable. You could have the virus, not even know it, and pass it on to someone who ends up in the hospital or deceased. This is the main reason video chatting is the recommended form of gathering.
Video chatting is a great way to connect with your family safely. Get on Facetime, Google Duo, or any other app that allows video calls. Talk with your aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, or whomever you want to speak.
If you prefer a more traditional means of reaching out, a lot of holiday fun can be made at home. You could make some of your own cards or gifts. A handmade card is more personal than using a store-bought card. Plus, it will give you something productive to do. On the topic of arts and crafts, you could also make decorations. You could decorate your room or your house to make it feel more like a special year.
Holiday food is great. Most families have huge meals for Christmas. These meals come with traditions that people carry out each year. Unfortunately, some of them will be on pause for a year, but not having that huge feast one time isn’t the end of the world.
People (a lot of moms and grandmas) who normally spend their holidays in the kitchen will have less food to prepare and fewer people to entertain. They may be able to actually relax a bit this year! Without the feasts and visitors, mom and grandma can join in the fun.
To recap, everything will look a little different this year, but again, it’s for the safety of the public. The holidays are only the holidays if you make them special, and there are ways to do that in 2020.