Papa Bear

Visiting Family During the Holidays During Quarantine

Welcome back everyone and thank you for taking a moment to stop and ponder with me for a moment on whether or not we should be visiting with our families this holiday season. There is a lot to think about this year when it comes to gathering up into tall, grande, venti, and even the infamous Super-Spreader sized groups, most thoughts along the line of; do you have any of the COVID symptoms, have you been exposed in the last 14 days, have you recently been to a large gathering, got anyone regularly attending daycare or in person school, do you work with the public, what about the flu, did you get the shot, would you be risking exposing someone else in the high risk category if you get it, will there be enough hand sanitizer, will we have enough space to stay six feet apart – and so on. There are even more “recommendations” to consider so I am going to try and break everything down and of course, leave some good resources to check out.

Before I do, I would like to share my own experience. Here at home, we have been having some conversations about the holidays and trying to figure out plan. And that is just it, spoiler alert, (I’m spoiling my own blog here) this really comes down to what is the best thing for your own situation. Whenever we get five minutes during the day, we might take a moment to discuss a few items and lately we have been trying to figure out what to do with the holidays. No one wants to miss out and we especially want to see family in person because it feels like we have already had to sacrifice so much this year. We have not made any final decisions yet and we are probably going to wait and see what happens this next week. We live in Lincoln, NE and locally the situation has been getting worse. I will list some numbers in just a moment.

Quarantine has felt like a rollercoaster ride with all the ups and downs. We shut down our schools at the end of last year and everyone thought this was going to last a few weeks. Then the bars and restaurants closed except for delivery and takeout. Most businesses started having their employees move to remote work if possible and we all started isolating. I feel like things slowly started to open back up and people started making exceptions here and there for family, then small and medium sized get-togethers. We still had the mask mandate, but there certainly were large to even excessive gatherings going on if you looked for them. Schools and daycares opened back up, restaurants are basically open with some restrictions, and the bars are full again. Now with Nebraska and many other states entering the dreaded “Red” zone, it is looking like things are about to get much worse just in time for the holidays.

I don’t have any answers for you, but I would like to help start a discussion whether that be on this platform (the blog), or The Fox and Bee Facebook Page, or the Instagram Page, or even just to help give gather some helpful information and compile it in one place for you. Before we jump into all of that fun stuff, here is a look at the upcoming blogs. I have moved to posting once every other week so I have more time to work on helping this blog in other ways. My next blog post will be on December 2nd!

Upcoming Blogs

  • Wednesday December 2nd – What Life is Like When Your Daughter Begins to Crawl
  • Wednesday December 16th – Christmas Special
  • Wednesday December 30th – The Benefits of Reading to Your Children
  • Wednesday January 13th – Savannah’s 1 Year Birthday and Milestones

Nebraska Stats

I wanted to provide some stats on Nebraska since we have recently entered the “Red” zone to give us some perspective. If you are reading this and you are not from Nebraska, you may want to skip to the next section or take a moment and look up your own state’s stats.

Nebraska has had a total of 100,784 cases and 795 deaths. On 11/16/2020, Nebraska reported 3,440 new COVID cases and 16 newly reported COVID deaths. We were right around 200-400 new cases a day during August and September and over the past 10 days we have been reporting a minimum of 2,000 new cases spanning several days. This topic has quickly become a hot topic here locally. You can check out NE’s CDC guidelines here. Six days ago, an article posted by a local news station had this headline, “Gov. Ricketts: If trends continue Nebraska will not have enough hospital beds.” Go check out that article. Another article that came out four days ago has an interview with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harris Frankel and he says they may have enough beds, but their biggest concern is not having enough medical staffing. He says it is impacting hospitals across the state, where there may be a bed open, but there is no one to care for the patient.

So, I think it must be said that no matter how much stock you put into those statistics, the situation here in Nebraska is getting worse and worse.

Tips and Considerations if You Do Gather

Whether you are celebrating the same old way or reducing your party down a little bit or meeting virtually, Thanksgiving is going to feel a little different this year. The CDC has listed some things to consider when gathering in small groups and trying your best to celebrate this year. I’m not going to go through them all. I really only want to focus on one today. “Behaviors of attendees prior to the gatherings.”

It can feel uncomfortable when someone asks you, “what have you been up to lately?”. That question feels more like an interrogation now and what they really want to know is, have you been going to any Super-Spreaders without telling me ahead of time? People start looking at each other side-eyed a little bit, maybe even making some assumptions about you. While no one wants to feel like that, they in return might be doing the same exact things to everyone else. And even though these accusations and assumptions can be hurtful, in some ways it does make a lot of sense because this virus should be taken seriously. People, of all the different age groups and health groups are getting sick and dying. Hospitals are filling up again and their staff members are exhausted and getting sick themselves. We are entering Flu season which only makes everything that much worse – especially for little children like Savannah.

So, what can we do? A big consideration that I think we should all take is thinking about what we are going to do in the days leading up to a planned gathering. If we want to get together for a holiday, let’s make sure we try our best to quarantine 7-10 days ahead of time. Hopefully this will help us avoid this pretty common situation: you attend an event of some kind with quite a few people, then you decided to visit family 2 days later, you then have to call everybody who attended the family gathering and admit that someone at the event you went to days prior to the family gathering has tested positive for COVID, meaning you were unknowingly exposed when you visited your family and its in everyone’s best interest that they get tested too. A wedding is a good example. If you plan to attend a wedding three days before Christmas, you might consider not attending your Christmas get together because there is a good chance you’ve been exposed and you don’t even know it yet. Limiting your shopping trips, shopping online, ordering your groceries online, etc. Anything you can do to avoid contact especially during the 7-10 period ahead of your planned small gathering. That is one small way to help stop the spread of COVID.

Ways To Celebrate Virtually

I also wanted to help share some fun ideas and suggestions on how to celebrate the holidays virtually this year. Again, Alex and I have not decided what we are going to do. I do know that the extended family get togethers have already been canceled so we will be missing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all of our cousins, which is so sad – so hopefully we can try to celebrate virtually with the folks that we won’t get a chance to see in person. If we do get together this year, it will only be with our immediate families. So here are some fun ways to try and make this year a little more memorable!

22 Virtual Christmas Party Ideas in 2020

Check out this blog article for some really cool ideas on how to celebrate virtually. I really like the Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt idea. I have visited with some friends who have done something like this with their family and they said it was a good time. It helps you to get in the mindset of spending the day with family. It can be hard to get yourself in the same state of mind that you would if you were going to be seeing people in person. Picking out an activity, even if it’s virtual, really makes a difference.

Here is a list you can get started with:

  • Favorite gift of all time
  • The item you have owned the longest
  • Something that reminds you of home
  • The most holiday item in your house
  • Christmas movie
  • Your winter coat

To play, just fire off prompts and whoever brings the item back first gets a point. Plus you can award extra points if that person shares more about the object.

Another really cool idea I came across was a Virtual Escape Room. There are live hosts with puzzles and mysteries. I am definitely intrigued. I have also seen some suggestions of trying to play a board game virtually. It only works if both groups have their own board. My family loves to play Clue and Alex and I do have our own board and so do my parents, and I think a few of my siblings – so perhaps we could try something like that. I love that game!

Wrap Up

Thank you for taking some time to consider your holiday plans and for supporting The Fox and The Bee. We hope that you all are enjoying our content and we really appreciate everyone’s support. This post was not meant pick a side on whether or not to get together for the holidays. The focus here was just to point out that it is important to take all the necessary precautions you can if you are going to get together. But what do you think? Alex and I would love to get your thoughts. Please share your ideas with us here or on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a Christmas Special! Happy Parenting!!