Discussion: How is 2020 reshaping your holiday plans

Discussion question for our Orion WiFi participants:

How is COVID-19 re-shaping your holiday plans (Thanksgiving through New Year) this year? Are you shopping differently? Are you traveling? Visiting with friends and family? Will you be attending an office party or other social gatherings?

Not really, I’ve never been a fan of crowded malls or big box stores during the holiday season. Much of my holiday shopping had already transitioned to online with a mix of delivery and in-store pickup. Due to COVID, I do use curbside rather than in-store pick up when possible. Best Buy, Sams’s Club, Target, PetsMart and Pet Supermarket have all done that well in my area. I have ventured into Sam’s. Scan and go in Sam’s app allows me to avoid checkout. Scan and go is a great in-app concept. Apple’s stores use it too though an Apple store is probably among the last places I’d frequent during a pandemic.

Not this year.

My 86 year-old mother is part of the household and high-risk, so probably not this year in person. We’ll do some virtual visiting. We may do a hybrid indoor/outdoor visit with local family. Mom would stay on the patio. Non-household family members would remain sufficiently distanced off the patio in the back-yard. In Florida, it’s a practical option.

Candidly, I don’t believe this is the year for that.

Forthcoming vaccines hold out the promise 2021 (unlike 2020) will end better than it starts, so we’ll keep things low-key this year.

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Are you shopping differently?
I have always done most of my shopping online. With COVID, I now shop almost exclusively online. I haven’t set foot in a retail store or grocery store in months. I used to go to the grocery store a few times a month.

Are you traveling?
I am not traveling. But, I don’t usually travel during the holiday.

Visiting with friends and family?
We did not visit with family or friends for Thanksgiving and probably won’t for Christmas, either. We would normally have a few family gatherings for the holidays.

Will you be attending an office party or other social gatherings?
I am considered an essential worker and have been going into the office on a part-time or full-time basis throughout our COVID restrictions. We are having a small (8 person) socially distanced holiday lunch. However, we will sit at individual tables with individual boxed lunches, all socially distanced. Our building has been closed to the public since March and there are less than 20 of us total. At least some people work from home each day and we all have private offices. We are part of each other’s “bubbles.”

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This will be a more quiet holiday season than usual. No travel plans. On Thanksgiving and on Christmas, I will visit my mom who is in a nursing home…the highlight of the day. My partner is working on Christmas so the rest of the day will be taking a bike ride and relaxing. Although COVID has affected activities, it is all about our family, friends and the meaning of the day. At work this Wednesday, we are having a socially distanced holiday party. Everyone will receive a box lunch (BBQ), exchange secret santa presents and play virtual games. It will be different but still a blast.

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