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Archive December 2020 XXI, No. 12

Behind Closed Doors: Season's Greetings

Let's enjoy the holidays and hope for better times ahead.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR

BIO

mask

At long last, the end of 2020 is in sight. Good riddance. I haven't been this excited for the start of a new year since Y2K.

Back in October, I honestly considered covering my decorating obligations by recreating a festive scene I saw on Pinterest: Jack-O'-Lantern and turkey on the front porch, string of lights on the door and Happy New Year written on a window with fake snow. I then planned on sleeping straight through from All Hallows' Eve to New Year's Day.

My grandmother used to tell me, "Don't wish time away. It's a sin." Of course, Grandma didn't factor in a worldwide pandemic when she uttered the edict. Sure, she lived through the Great Depression, but I believe COVID-19 has been more devastating to the health and well-being of citizens and communities across the country than the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world.

The pandemic's recent surge, surgery shutdowns and skyrocketing unemployment rates make it difficult to get excited about shopping for loved ones. There never seemed to be enough time between Thanksgiving and the December holidays. But with COVID-19 still dominating our daily lives and keeping us homebound, time is all we have.

I actually miss the hustle and bustle of shopping in stores, but thank goodness for Amazon and my rapid-fire mouse. Everyone on my Christmas list is getting a box of masks with directions on how to wear them properly. Those who have been nice about covering their faces as directed will also get emollient-coated gloves, hand sanitizer and a roll of toilet paper. Naughty noncompliers are getting COVID test kits.

Time to reflect

Every year, we used to put our family's overly decorated tree up on December 19th. After everyone had gone to bed, I would sit on the couch with the room lights off and the tree lights on, spending some quiet moments thinking about the past year and counting my blessings.

This time around will feel different. I won't gather with my entire family for the first time in forever. My plans are simple and subdued. I'm going to trim the tree, deck the halls, bake cookies and keep the Hallmark Channel on loop, but this might be the quietest Silent Night I've ever had.

I'll still sit back with a fire in the fireplace, room lights off, an eggnog in hand (more nog than egg) and stare at the tree with many fond memories of Christmases past. As I sit alone thinking about this scary, difficult and seemingly endless year, I'll gain a new perspective on what the holidays should truly be about. I think we've all realized health and happiness are more important than presents and overindulging.

I'm determined to have a safe, sanitized and socially distanced holiday. If I had one wish, it would be for family, friends and the faithful readers of this column to remain safe in 2021. Happy holidays with hope for a better and healthier New Year! OSM

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