Christmas can’t come soon enough! I’ve done all my shopping and just have a few gifts left to wrap. That is an amazing accomplishment for me because I am normally the wrapping-Christmas-morning-person. 

One of the main reasons for this personal phenomenon is COVID-19. Shopping has been limited to only a few stores. Several weeks ago I wrote about all the “Amazon return stores” that exist in the Chicagoland area. I have made a killing at those stores, even when the items were reduced to $0.50.  I’ve managed to find some really great things. I could literally budget $10 a person and have a minimum of 5-6 nice, useful gifts for the person. 

This second wave of COVID-19 has hit closer to home than the first time around, way back in March. Several close family members caught it. Thankfully, they recovered. But it was scary to know that someone in my immediate family had contracted it. Several of my very close friends also had family members diagnosed with it. Thankfully, those individuals have recovered as well.

Even though I’ve gone through all my normal holiday motions, I really don’t feel a true Christmas spirit. I have my Santa’s elf hat and will soon switch to my red Santa hat. I have the reindeer ornaments on my car lit up with LED lights that run off the USB port in my car. I play my Nat King Cole Christmas Is For Children songs, but the magic that is Christmas is still eluding me. I need a bit of snow on the ground to really feel like Christmas. There is something about the sound of the crunch of the frozen snow and the slush covering my feet that really says Christmas to me. Based on weather reports I’ve seen, this will not be a white Christmas.

I have a small electronic water globe shaped like a Christmas tree. I placed that on the mantle above the fireplace. I put a few decorations up around the house, but I didn’t go all out. One of the things I purposely do, is wish people a Merry Christmas. Since I haven’t been in the malls, and the stores that I shopped at really didn’t play Christmas music, it has been a missing feature in my shopping experience. Instead I’ve heard constant reminders of “Do not open the boxes.”

I stopped by my daughter’s house and can appreciate that she really has done up the house for my grandkids for Christmas. The live tree is up and many of my Christmas decorations have mysteriously appeared in her house. Seeing all she did shows that to get into the Christmas spirit, we have to do a lot of the physical things to bring about a Christmas-y environment. I’m again having to make the “next year I’ll do better” promise, but there is no guarantee. 

One thing that will make Christmas very special is that after the Thanksgiving gatherings, there was no major surge in COVID-19. For once we can appreciate the experts being wrong.

So have a Merry COVID-19 Free Christmas! 

Arlene Jones writes a column for our sister publication, the Austin Weekly News.

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