Tis’ the season to be jolly, celebratory, peaceful, giving, and appreciative. Tis’ the season to also continue to wear masks and engage in practices to minimize the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. With the recent spike in cases, suspected to be a result of the Omicron variant, the need to follow guidelines recommended by the CDC and local departments of public health has become a priority for many looking to visit loved ones during this holiday season.
Many have made it a priority to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, enabling them to travel for the holidays. Yet, with many individuals remaining unvaccinated and an increasing number of hospitalized cases, the pandemic has compelled many in the United States and around the world to celebrate this time of year at a distance once again. But it hasn’t devalued the importance of the holiday season nor negated the greatest gift we could ever ask for: love among family members and friends.
Of course, holiday gatherings may need to be smaller or at a distance this year. This means many may decide to repeat last year’s practice of sending holiday wishes via phone and video conferencing platform. This understandably is a tiresome recommendation to accept. But with many individuals remaining unvaccinated, the proverbial “better to play it safe than be sorry” seems to have become the COVID-specific, go-to response for those desiring to stay healthy. I’ve learned from a year ago, however, to appreciate the strange, new normal of mask-wearing and holding small gatherings, if not avoiding gatherings all together. Why? It’s because I continue to feel comforted to know that my loved ones are remaining safe and healthy and that being at a distance doesn’t prevent any of us from continuing to feel the love for those close to us.
Granted, I would give anything to see my family and friends in person. And there are some whom I will have the pleasure of seeing for the first time in two years. But there are others whom I will need to see at later date in time in the name of public health.
With the abundant availability of vaccines, I hope that the percentage of unvaccinated individuals decrease further And, hopefully, the old normal of being in the company of many loved ones will be a regular occurrence and will be something that we all will have a greater appreciation for.
I wish you all hope, faith, joy, and peace. Happy holidays!
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