It's shaping up to be the oddest holiday season of my life, and I'm sure it's the same for every one of you reading this. Yesterday South Carolina set a Covid record: over 3200 new positive cases and 49 reported deaths, and that's in a single day. Some counties in the state have hospitals at 100% capacity with no available beds, so the situation is becoming more dire by the day.
At my school (and all the other schools in our district) the number of cases have also been going up and up and up, and that's not even counting the number of students and staff who are required to stay home and quarantine because of exposure to someone who's positive. It's a real mess. The school board announced that we'll get out earlier for the holiday break than originally planned, with our last day being the 18th instead of the 23rd. Even so, our (wonderful) school nurse told me yesterday that she's shocked that we haven't gone back all virtual given how bad the district numbers are trending.People are becoming frightened and even a bit paranoid, like a couple of teachers who've been going for weekly Covid tests despite having no symptoms and everyone taking rigorous precautions. I can't blame them. A few teachers across the state with no pre existing conditions have actually died. And far too many people in the community simply refuse to believe in the seriousness of this virus and continue to go about their normal activities, maskless and fancy free. They make me furious. If it were only their own ignorant selves they were endangering, that would be fine with me, but unfortunately we're all at risk because of them. Our current record breaking numbers are the fallout from Thanksgiving gatherings, and January is going to be even more deadly once we're a couple of weeks past Christmas.
As for the approach of Christmas, our already short list of people to buy gifts for is shorter than usual. We won't be seeing any family or friends for the foreseeable future to exchange presents, and the truth is that this has been such an expensive year for us, both in terms of lost income and emergencies to pay for, that we would need to curtail most gift buying anyway. I did buy a Christmas present for my buddy, Little P., though.
That kid is forever making paper airplanes. He's fairly obsessed with them. Unfortunately, he doesn't really know how to make them properly so they never work very well and are kind of sad, but he remains undeterred. On Thursday afternoon he brought his latest one to show me. He threw it, and it went all of one foot then it hit the floor with a plop. He smiled. I said, "You really love paper airplanes, don't you?" and he replied "I was born to make paper airplanes!" Hahaha. That boy cracks me up! So when I saw this kit at the bookstore that evening (I had dashed in to buy Christmas cards) I knew he would love it.
I'm planning to cook and bake a lot less than usual this Christmas. There will still be a ham, and a few favorite snacks, appetizers, and simple meals. I may even bake a batch or two of cookies, but that's about it. We've had our tree up for a while now, and last weekend we strung some colored lights on the back porch, for fun.
So many houses in our little neighborhood have lights and decorations up this year! We enjoy looking at them when we're out walking George at night. Even in pandemic times those simple pleasures can be enjoyed safely. Here are two houses I've gotten pictures of so far.
I should be finishing up my Christmas cards this weekend and getting them mailed out next week. I love sending them and I really love receiving them. That's another thing that can be enjoyed safely....reaching out via card or letter to friends and family. I sure will miss seeing everyone this year, but it's kind of nice in a way to have an excuse to do less and have a simpler holiday for once.
What kind of holiday plans do you have this crazy year? How do you feel about it all?