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Quarantining This Christmas

Holiday music is already playing in the background, and we’ll soon prepare for a short vacation and a permanent break from 2020. But as daily updates about the COVID-19 vaccine flutter through the crisp, cool air, we all know we’ve still got a distance to go before we can truly celebrate a return to normalcy. That means most of us will have to offer our season’s greetings at a distance. The good news is that this Grinch-like guidance doesn’t have to steal our holiday spirits. In fact, it presents a wonderful opportunity for us to demonstrate our love for humanity and our faith-filled hope for a healthy tomorrow. Here is your short list for wrapping a bit of merriment in this socially distant holiday.

Be kind to bell-ringers and contact tracers.

Take off that Scrooge hat and remember that what may seem like a nuisance is actually meant to help. Contact tracing is a critical part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. So, when you are greeted by a contact tracer from your local health department, cooperate with them as they seek to identify exposures and manage the transmission of the virus. Contact tracers have a tough job. They are assigned to get in touch with thousands of people by phone or text to inquire about their whereabouts or inform them that they may have been exposed to the virus. If you’ve been exposed, they will advise you on how to monitor your symptoms and how to tackle a 14-day quarantine. So, if a contract tracer calls, be courteous and allow them to interview you. Unlike the bellringers, they won’t even ask for your spare change.

Get out for some holiday testing.

If you have to get out of the house this pandemic season, and you think you may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, snag a moment to get tested. Testing is the best way for you to know if you have been exposed to the virus— especially if you have no obvious symptoms. And be sure that anyone visiting your home gets tested, too. It’s safe, fast and most often free. However, each state’s health department has different guidelines around who should be tested and when. There are testing sites all over your state, so check them out. 

Cozy up by the fire (or space heater).

Take advantage of this season for rest and rejuvenation. If you are not a designated essential worker, do your best to stay indoors this season. Cozy up in your favorite winter socks, and take some time to tend to your mental health. Connect with friends and family by sending traditional holiday cards or plan an online meet up at dinner time. Remember, we’ve got to get through a few more months of social distancing before the vaccine becomes widely available.

Give the gift that keeps on giving.

A mask is an effective force against the spread of the virus, and everyone could use an extra one. Whether you screen print them, bedazzle them, or add your designs with markers, masks make a great holiday gift for anyone. Speaking of gifts, consider dropping off a meal to hard-working medical and service workers or simply leaving notes on the front steps of elders who have been keeping distant all year.

If we are diligent this season, we can make this pandemic a distant memory like the Ghost of Christmas past that will hopefully never return to haunt us again.