Now that we’re into the holiday season, we find ourselves also into the second or third wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. A has been the case all year long, we’re faced with varied opinions about what we should all do to keep ourselves safe. Some states have gone back into lockdown mode, while others are trying to keep businesses open, realizing that COVID isn’t the only danger people face.
There have allegedly even been legal threats on the part of some governors, telling people that they will be hit with criminal sanctions for having too many people over for Thanksgiving. If those are true, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen for Christmas. How can anyone have a happy Christmas, if they can’t gather together with family and friends.
In the midst of all this, I find my family in the midst of crisis as well. My brother’s roommate has tested positive for COVID-19. Both he and my brother are high-risk due to their age and medical conditions. My brother just received a kidney transplant five months ago, which seems like it would put him at even greater risk.
I don’t want to get into details, but this situation has caused plenty of tension in the extended family, as each person has pushed their opinion as fact, trying to get my brother to take one action or another.
I’m sure we’re not the only family facing such things. I merely bring them up to show what the pandemic is doing to families around the world. For the time being, my brother is staying in his home, along with his roommate, who helped him through the operation and has always been there for him. They are taking all the precautions that the CDC has given them, even wearing masks and gloves at home. Hopefully, that will be enough.
But what about the rest of us? We are now officially in the holiday season, which for most of us means getting together with family and friends. How can we celebrate the holidays, if we can’t get together? On the other hand, can we take the risk of allowing our entire family to come down with the disease?
My eldest daughter asked that my wife and I not visit for Thanksgiving, in order to protect her two baby girls. The area they live in is a hotspot and she’s really trying to take precautions. It isn’t that she doesn’t trust me; it’s that if she lets me come, she has to let other family members come, not all of whom are taking the right precautions. She trusts me, but doesn’t necessarily trust them.
It seems we all need to have some really frank family discussions, before making any holiday plans. More than anything, those discussions need to deal with how safe people are keeping themselves. If some family members are not, then it might be best to avoid gathering together with them this year.
At the same time, we must all be considerate of other family members’ feelings. I was not offended by my daughter’s dis-invitation for Thanksgiving, because I understood the reason behind it. I want those girls safe too, and if that means I’m going to have to spend the holidays without the pleasure of their company, than that’s what I’m going to do. There’s always the phone and zoom.
My wife’s family, which is very close-knit, has the tradition of coming together at her mother’s birthday, which is in early December. Yet this year, for the first time in decades, they aren’t coming to visit, even though it is a landmark year for her. My wife and I will be with her, as we live locally, but not the rest. They’re staying home, so as to not have to expose themselves on the airplane and not risk getting their mother ill.
This may very well be the strangest holiday season of all, as we battle with the reality of the pandemic. While I’m sure there will be some who choose to ignore the pandemic and party hardy, I won’t be one of them. I care too much about the people around me to take a chance on becoming a conduit for one of them to die. I’ve already had too many people I know die from this disease.
For those I do see, I’ll be wearing a mask and sanitizing my hands before and after contact with them. That’s the best medical advice we have available to us today, so I’m taking it. Whether you do is up to you. Just remember the potential consequences.
These are hard decisions to make; but survival requires those sorts of hard decisions. While I may not like some of the decisions that I or other family members are going to have to make this holiday season, I will survive them. So will they and that’s the point. We can still find ways of enjoying the holiday season and to feel close to family and friends. Let’s do that, instead of putting them at risk or allowing them to put us at risk. Next year will be better.
So, enjoy your Christmas as best you can; but stay safe. That includes keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.