When we think about the holidays, we think about big family dinners, Christmas parties, and finally having the time and reason to reunite with friends. This pandemic, though, we’re forced to face what spending the holidays in quarantine really means. With the end of the pandemic still not in sight, we have to accept that this December is going to look a whole lot different from the ones we’ve spent before, and that includes not being able to see most people you usually would this season.Â
While quarantine guidelines have been easing up, there’s still so much risk in going to social gatherings. With the right precautions in place and with social distancing, depending on your area’s quarantine status, catching a quick dinner with a loved one or two or dropping off a gift for a friend at their house is something you could do. But mass social gatherings with people you don’t live with should still be off the table.Â
You’re Doing Them a Favor
Saying “no” to all the people you love when they ask you to celebrate the holidays – a time that has always meant togetherness and joy – with them is not easy. Especially when they’re relatives and close friends who have been part of your traditions for as long as you remember. But when you’re turning down those invites and feeling guilty, just remember: the best gift you can give them this year is safety.
During the pandemic, a guest isn’t just a guest. Each name on the invite list causes the risk for infection to grow exponentially. So, not breaking quarantine to go to a party means that there’s less chance for everyone to get sick.Â
Prioritize Your and Your Household’s Health
If you’re being invited to a big get-together or one that seems unsafe or unnecessary, you have every right to look out for yourself. With the state of our country and the pandemic still up in the air, the most we can do is look out for others by looking out for ourselves. Now is the time to keep ourselves healthy, and in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, that’s definitely not something you should consider selfish.
This is especially true if you live with other people who are more at risk if they were to get the virus through you, like senior citizens, little kids, and those who are immunocompromised. No amount of feeling bad for turning down that invite or the sense of social obligations is worth that risk.
While it’s unfair that we have to resort to Zoom parties and other alternatives instead of being able to physically be with our friends and family because of the way our government has handled the pandemic, it’s still the safer option for now. For the past nine months, we’ve been forced to learn how to maintain connections despite the distance, and that’s something we should carry into the holidays.
There are still hundreds of ways to keep in touch and celebrate with the people you love from a distance. While alternatives can’t replace a real hug, now more than ever, it’s important to remember that there’s a reason we’ve lasted this long without seeing each other: The knowledge that love and celebration also manifest in finding new ways to stay connected and in protecting each other.