There’s little doubt this holiday season will be a little different.

It’s hard even to imagine what Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will look like for most of the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many health experts suggest we cancel large Thanksgiving family gatherings this year to protect those susceptible to being seriously sickened by the coronavirus. Those same physicians recommend a safer course of action is to hold virtual meetups over platforms like Zoom so family members can get together and hopefully avoid discussing politics after the incredibly divisive 2020 presidential campaign.

If you or your children have grandmothers like my son, that will be a tough sell.

We could try and have them see their beloved grandson only over the computer, but chances are our house would look more like a scene from a horror movie with two frantic women pounding on our doors and windows trying to get inside.

A scene like that would be much more appropriate for my favorite holiday at the end of October.

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa – or even Festivus – may be even stranger than a Zoom-fueled Thanksgiving this time around.

Like our nation’s health officials, retailers are taking coronavirus precautions seriously and bracing for a holiday shopping season dominated by online sales.

Many stores aren’t opening for in-person shopping on Thanksgiving, which has turned into one of the United States’ most abhorrent shopping holidays. Will the crowds still flock to malls as they have on previous Black Fridays?

That remains to be seen.

There’s no question shopping for the holidays will require an adjustment this year. Many Americans may flinch at wearing masks and following simple social distancing guidelines in the face of the pandemic. Still, I’m betting we will all be able to come together and figure out a way to check every box on our lists and shop till we drop for our friends and loved ones this November and December.

And what about kids visiting Santa?

Hopefully, that tradition will continue, but it’s impossible to visualize what sitting on Santa’s lap will entail while making sure Jolly Old Saint Nick remains safe from COVID-19. Will an elf be charged with sanitizing Santa’s workshop after every child delivers his or her wish list? Will masks and plastic shields be involved?

I think I’d rather shoot my eye out.

And what about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?

Times Square in New York City will most likely be empty on Dec. 31 this year. As a rabid fan of all things Bravo, missing out on Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper ringing in 2021 in front of throngs of revelers may be a bridge too far.

Hopefully, Andy and Anderson will still be live in a studio for a New Year’s Eve broadcast, but is that the same? All of us Bravo fans have had to adjust to socially distanced “Real Housewives” reunions, so I guess the rest of the world will have to adapt as well.

Sports fans have also become used to the idea of empty stadiums for New Year’s Day football games. There shouldn’t be much of an adjustment for that one.

Actually, that may be the holiday this year that will be improved. It will be nice for many to recover from a hangover on New Year’s Day from a social distance.

No matter how you spend your holidays this year, enjoy them. Let’s take the time to appreciate each other and have faith that 2021 can’t possibly be as bad as its predecessor.

Are those some famous last words? Let’s hope not. Enjoy this issue of South Hills Living.

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