We are approaching the end of the worst year most of us have experienced ever. 2020– the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still happening by the way. It didn’t disappear simply because we are beyond fed up with it. It isn’t over because we elected a new President.
We need to buckle down and prepare for the second wave of cases in the United States because, congratulations! We have surpassed 11 million cases. I am proud to be an American.
The holidays are right around the corner, and I’m ready to share the best tips and tricks for enjoying the next few weeks as safely as possible. To start, let’s reemphasize that masks are to be worn over your mouth, chin and nose. You shouldn’t touch the outside of your mask because that should be where all the bacteria and germs will stick when you are outside the safety of your home. If you touch the outside of your mask, then proceed to touch your phone, keys, door knob, etc. you are spreading the germs the mask was intended to protect you from. Wash your hands before removing your mask, using the ear loops, then rewash after removing and disposing of the mask. You’re welcome.
Do you and your family a favor by getting a flu shot. The flu and COVID-19 are two separate illnesses. You can contract COVID-19 and the flu, and suffer with both at the same time. You can have strep throat and COVID-19, a stomach virus and COVID-19 all at the same. Sounds awful. Get the flu shot.
I’d suggest shopping locally this gift-giving season. Small and local businesses have been hit the hardest this year with the lockdowns earlier this year. Some have been able to transition completely online or with reduced hours, while others have had to shut down permanently. Small businesses are the livelihoods of families in your neighborhoods. Be a good neighbor, and skip Amazon, Wal-Mart and other larger retailers. Shop with us!
I’d also suggest planning ahead for your seasonal festivities. Order your holiday decor or recipe ingredients earlier to avoid long lines or delayed deliveries. Take charge! I’d like to stress that by planning ahead, I also mean to plan for smaller, more intimate gatherings. Be realistic about who can, and should, actually join you for the holidays. Then, make arrangements for a Zoom call cocktail hour or virtual brunch. While the holidays may look and feel a little different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t have something to look forward to!
During any other normal circumstance, I’d experience major FOMO (fear of missing out) when comparing my more relaxed holiday plans to others, but 2020 has introduced a whole new sense of normal. Take advantage of the fact that this year is unlike any other, and experiment with new traditions. Get creative! Try a meal subscription service or your Christmas dinner, or order from a new restaurant in town. Decorate your house with homemade decor, or wait until New Year’s to binge watch a highly anticipated show. Consider arranging a “Secret Santa”, or skip gifts altogether and contribute to a charity. Switch it up, and anticipate more festive, adventurous, engaging plans next year.
Lastly, and I am saying this with my chest, stay the f*ck home! “But I–“, “What if I…”, “Maybe if–“— NO! Cases and rising and people are dying. The worst way to celebrate the season of love, family and giving is to spread this infectious virus that has put us in this sticky predicament. Yes, being away from your parents, siblings or grandparents is a major inconvenience but should you spread the virus to those you love, what’s the point?
The virus can take 14 days to incubate in your system, so it doesn’t matter if you tested negative before your flight. You could be exposed while at the airport, at the train station or on the bus thereafter. Why risk anything? This pandemic has lasted since March, and is reaching new heights. Nationwide, the number of cases are surpassing previous records. This is happening because of people who are visiting others without masks, socializing outside their homes as though this nightmare is over and dismissing the severity of the virus. What sucks if that those of us who have obliged by the rules the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended for months, can suffer at the hands of the reckless mass who has complete disregard for others.
I am stealing this point straight from Instagram and I don’t care: Stop acting like we are not in a pandemic, and embrace social distancing, masks and staying home.
Appreciate your loved ones you still have with you in this physical Earth, and cherish your health.
Godspeed. I hope you all prioritize the health of your community and loved ones this holiday season. If not, you’d be assured to hear that there are may not enough beds in the ICU to treat incoming patients. I’m being honest here. If we succeed at flattening the curve once more, maybe we can place ourselves in a better position for 2021. Imagine: an end to COVID-19. What a gracious gift to all that would be.