And thrice times a Covid Christmas

Another Covid Christmas?
Another Covid Christmas?

If you had told me back in late 2019 that in December 2022, we’d be approaching our third – yes, third – Covid Christmas, I’d have suggested you’d dipped into the spiked eggnog a little too often.

Of course, for starters, back then I’d have needed you to explain what exactly the word Covid meant. That’s no longer a problem! I’m now all too familiar with the word and what it means. I’ve been jabbed five – count ‘em – five times, yet I still tested positive in early November and spent a few days isolated with nothing more serious than a few sniffles and a mild but irritating cough (thank you, vaccinations!). Some “experts” are suggesting that before we’re past this (if we ever are) the vast majority of Canadians will eventually contract Covid regardless of how vigilant we’ve been. How nice!

In light of how few masks I see these days when I’m out in the world, we seem to have returned to our regularly scheduled programming. But Covid is still with us, still morphing into different and more tenacious variants, and still putting people in hospital. I confess, I never thought it would last this long, and I don’t think I’m alone.

I think the key to navigating this strange new world without losing our collective marbles is to accept that Covid and its offspring may well be with us for a long time to come, and not to hang our hopes on a final and definitive eradication of this pernicious virus. Rather, we have to figure out how to live our lives and find joy in our days, while still protecting ourselves and one another – to the extent we can – from Covid. As daunting as it sounds, that may well be our… (what’s the current buzz phrase? Oh yes…) “new normal.” I do think it’s possible.

We can all still enjoy family and friends even if it means rooting around in both nostrils with a cotton swab before the warm embraces begin. We can still bundle up and walk the ravine trails in an around Leaside, nodding amiably to neighbours and strangers alike along the way. We can still skate, ski, and skedaddle to other parts of the city, province, country, continent, or globe, if we’re careful. What a cheery thought to accompany us all through the holiday season. So, take heart!

We’ve learned so much in the last two and a half years about how to live with this viral interloper. I’ve gained a new appreciation for sweatpants – actually, “appreciation” is an enormous understatement. I love them and wear them, well, far too often. (Yes, I’m still beating the sweatpants drum.) I’ve also mastered Zoom and Teams, although it does mean that when I do leave the house, I have to remember that the other shoppers at the grocery store can actually see all of me, and not just my upper half. And much of the world has learned to work remotely, and arguably just as effectively as when we used to work in tall, glass office buildings.

Yes, this pandemic has reminded me that the human race is quite adaptable. We’ve kept calm and carried on. Sure, we’ve had a few glitches along the way, but for the most part, we humans have done the right thing and conducted ourselves responsibly. I repeat, for the most part. We’ve worn masks, kept our distance, been vaccinated… several times, and tested ourselves when dreaded symptoms arise. Save for a few vocal and contrarian outliers, we’ve generally acted in the public interest.

So, with Christmas just around the corner, we shouldn’t be surprised to see masked carolers on our streets and perhaps even face-cloaked Clauses in our malls. In fact, we should applaud them. And of course, we should spare a thought for the tireless dedication of our frontline workers who remain, well, on the front lines of this pandemic, even as most of us do our best to inch safely towards a version of the life we used to know.

I know it’s been a long, hard road and there are miles to go yet. But this is the time of year when we give thanks for what we have while supporting those who have less. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all. I truly hope there are family, friends, laughter, gifts, carols, and even some spiked eggnog in your future. Maybe a lot of spiked eggnog. Happy holidays!

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis grew up in Leaside and is the award-winning writer of eight national bestsellers. His most recent, Operation Angus, is in bookstores. You can also subscribe to his newsletter:

About Terry Fallis 88 Articles
A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis grew up in Leaside and is the award-winning writer of nine national bestsellers, all published by McClelland & Stewart. His most recent, A New Season, is now in bookstores.