Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, etc. - Denny Scott editorial
Well folks, Christmas is literally upon us (most readers will be seeing this on Dec. 23 hopefully) and it marks an interesting year in which we all returned to some sense of normalcy.
Some of us decide to wear masks, some of us don’t. Some of us are following up on our COVID-19 and flu shots, and some of us won’t. Regardless, we have weathered enough of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that the world seems to be getting back to normal (unless, in the couple of weeks since I penned this in my last week at The Citizen, we’ve got some new variant that bypasses all the resistances we’ve built up entirely).
Much like that first breath of chilled air when you step on the ice for the first time in a season, or like that first breath of spring air after the long cold air, 2022 will be remembered by many as the year that we found our way out from under the yoke of COVID-19.
During my last couple of weeks at The Citizen, I pushed on ahead with local families’ Christmas stories to make sure this issue would continue to be the special product that it has been in years past and the subject of a “normal” Christmas came up a number of times, especially when I was interviewing North Woods Elementary School Principal Dree Park.
Mr. Park, alongside his wife and two sons, have some fun Christmas traditions, but when we sat down to chat, we ended up talking a lot about how Christmas will be celebrated at the school.
Aside from Christmas, he said that there had been a number of events held at the school over the year that showed how a norm was being re-established through the school community.
From Halloween parties to non-cohorted events, the school year looked a little different than the previous two years under COVID-19 lockdowns, Park said, and with a Christmas concert on the horizon, he was happy to be able to welcome families back to the school for the traditions that had been part of the school year prior to COVID-19.
While I’m not running a school in my spare time, I knew exactly what he meant. For the first time in a couple years I was looking forward to a regular Christmas. I plan on visiting friends over the holidays, enjoying some family Christmas parties and doing all of it with only a niggling fear of COVID-19 in the back of my mind. Sure, last year we were able to see people at Christmas, but there was this pall cast over the celebrations as every sniffle could lead to a celebration being canceled or having people not be able to make it.
I mean, we’re not out of the woods here. Even the lowly cold seems to be rougher now because of a couple of years of isolation. My daughter had a heck of an upper respiratory infection near the end of November and it did result in me missing some plans I had with friends, but every sniffle isn’t arousing the same concerns.
Hopefully we’ve all learned a little something about staying home when sick over the past couple of years - I know I have. A day of rest can save you a few more days feeling unwell. In the case of the office, it can also save your coworkers from taking home the bug and, in the case of your family holidays, it can save your relatives, especially the very young and the very old, from, at best, a couple of days in bed instead of celebrating or, at worst, a trip to the hospital. Trust me, those are the worst times to have to visit a hospital.
Play it as normal as possible, but play it safe as well. That way one holiday party missed doesn’t turn into an entire holiday season missed.
With that said, I now, as my last column at The Citizen, wish everyone a more normal happy holiday season, a Merry Christmas, a joyous Kwanza, a “Hanukkah Sameach” and a Happy Festivus for the rest of us. May your holidays be filled with clean bills of health, friends, family, food and fun. And also, don’t forget to save the airing of grievances until the end of the night.