For those that celebrate, the holidays are quickly approaching. Aren’t they always?
Before 2020, celebrating the holidays for me meant traversing multiple stores to purchase gifts for all my family members, driving to three different states to visit with relatives, and partaking in a yearly trip to NYC with my cousin to enjoy all the seasonal magic the city has to offer. However, we are now entering our second holiday season with the looming risk of COVID-19 and the emerging omicron variant.
Just how do we answer the questions swirling around in our heads about how to approach the holidays? Do we literally stay “home for the holidays”? Or do we press forward and enjoy them precisely how we did before the COVID-19 pandemic? Or some middle ground? I do not have the absolute correct answer to these questions, and that is because there is no universal playbook for how we all should be planning. What I do have, though, is a tool that has proven useful on several occasions when there was not a straightforward answer.
I think we can all agree that everyone has their own unique and dynamic situations when it comes to home life. I have my husband, 3-year-old, 3-month-old, and two elderly grandmothers that we see frequently. Not to mention some immunocompromised family members that we take into consideration. Using a decision tree has helped our family answer questions that sometimes feel too complex to manage.
What does this decision tree look like? It includes a series of questions important to me and my family that narrow down and rule out concerns.
Typically, I ask myself:
- What are all the holiday activities we did before the pandemic?
- Are these activities indoors or outdoors?
- How many people could I potentially be interacting with?
- What are the current case rates or emerging variants?
- To wear masks or not to wear masks?
We consult the latest CDC guidelines, local case rates, and sometimes just our gut instincts to help guide us and make sure we are comfortable with the choices we make.
No matter what activities you are planning for the holidays, find comfort in the decisions you are making to protect your family. If that means staying in all December and baking cookies, please make some extra for me.