Celebrating the Holidays Without the Risk

Athena Merritt avatar

by Athena Merritt |

Share this article:

Share article via email
exercise, COVID-19 vaccine, awareness month, COVID-19, gym, events, daylight saving time, Rare Disease Day, symptoms, victories, slowing down, doctor, health checklist, medical appointments, exercise, holidays, medicare open enrollment, healthy streak, medical marijuana, lung care, insecurities, employment, managing a disease

I used to stubbornly hang on to old ways of doing things. Sarcoidosis cured me of that. It’s why I wasn’t among the millions of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving. I won’t be at Christmas, either. 

With COVID-19 cases spiking, forgoing get-togethers continues to be my new way of life. It not only decreases my risk of infection but also the risk to those in my social circle, too. And it has kept me free of colds for eight months.

It’s common knowledge that age and underlying illnesses can increase the risk for severe illness from the novel coronavirus. Considering that six in 10 American adults have a chronic disease, and four in 10 have two or more, we all likely know someone in a high-risk category. 

Even young, otherwise healthy people can face serious and lingering complications, according to the Mayo Clinic. Instead of ignoring the pandemic and celebrating as we have in the past, this holiday season is an opportunity to get creative to remain safe. We can help some struggling businesses in the process. 

Think local

I love traveling to different areas and the hidden gems that family and friends share. I enjoy showing off what my town has to offer when they visit me. You could draw from your own experiences to give presents with a local flavor this year.

  • Put together a basket of local products, such as those items you notice your visitors stocking up on because they can’t get them at home. 
  • Remember that go-to spot your hostess always takes you to? Buy a gift card from the business to help it thrive so they can keep enjoying it. 
  • Scenery is what makes our hometowns so special. Send a coffee table book that highlights your region’s must-sees, or capture them yourself and create a photo album or video. 

With so many feeling cooped up, a taste of elsewhere will likely be welcome.  

Share the memories

The ease and convenience of taking photographs with our phones has led to many of us documenting everything. I had more than 3,000 pictures stuffed on my cell, which I became aware of when I neared storage capacity. 

In place of a visit, share past memories you’ve captured to make the day special. Create a photo album or a personalized calendar, or have an image put on a T-shirt, mug, or other gift. 

Remember the little guys

Small businesses are struggling. We can help by thinking of them first when making holiday purchases this year. Shop locally. Support the hometown favorites of those you know by buying gift cards for them to shop there. 

If you plan to conquer your shopping online, look for small retailers. I bumped into this post by Merrick’s Art, which compiled more than 30 small business gift ideas. The creator of the list is a small business owner herself. 

Have a safe and happy holiday season, however you decide to spend it. 


Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.

  • A slice of help: In giving back, a California cheesemaker found a way to stay afloat during the pandemic, according to a report by ABC7 News. The Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company told customers if they bought a wedge, it would donate an equal amount to a food bank. The campaign has already led to 3,000 pounds of cheese going to Redwood Empire Food Bank and enabled the company to rehire some workers it had laid off. 
  • Furry countdown: While you’re counting down the days till Christmas, why not include your furry companion in the festivities? People magazine lists a dozen Advent calendars for pets this holiday season. Frosted and sprinkled cookies, apple cinnamon treats, and toys are among the daily surprises to spoil dogs. Your feline can snack through 24 days of catnip treats, Fancy Feast cans, and other fishy goodies. 


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.