By Sue Murphy
Don’t look now, but it’s time to get your holiday house in order. We’ve cleared the Halloween hurdle and are now careening into the full-on holiday rush.
It may be hard to believe, but if you haven’t already booked the venue for your holiday party, it may be too late. If you have, good for you. Now you just have to hope that you will be well enough to attend.
What could stand in your way? Germs, those nasty insidious creatures who can survive on a door knob or a $10 bill but are ever so much happier if they can live in your warm, cozy little body. I know that you’re careful. You cover your mouth when you cough. You pop a little extra vitamin C when someone else does. But remember, at holiday time, you will not be the captain of your own ship. Well, you may still be the captain, but you will be taking on a crew – aunts, uncles and a cousin who has recently taken a float trip down the Amazon.
Actually, it doesn’t take anything that exotic to shipwreck your celebration. Your family may arrive on an airplane, an enclosed space where some people may already be sick and are just trying to get home so they can get to feeling better. Or, maybe your family elects to drive, stopping off at restaurants where they are handed menus that have been handed to everyone and his brother before them, or touch gas pump handles that have been previously handled by someone who is sick. Even in-town nephews and nieces may have sat on the mall Santa’s lap, a place just recently occupied by a child who was a bit feverish but mom wanted a last-minute Christmas card photo, so she stopped off on the way to the pediatrician, where they will find that the child has strep.
I don’t mean to sound like a germaphobe. I just think you need to realize that when your family arrives and you close the door behind them, thinking, “Thank goodness they made it here safely,” your troubles may be just beginning. And you know exactly where you’ll be at that point: in a state of weakened, stressed-out holiday anticipation. Sister, your germ shields will be down.
I’m sure I told you about the Easter when all nine of the people in my house took turns with the stomach flu. The washing machine ran 24/7 for days. We ran out of ice. Whoever was still standing dragged themselves to the store for reinforcements. I vowed then never to approach another holiday unprepared for non-celebratory disaster.
I’m not suggesting that you forego your holiday encounters. I’m just saying be prudent. Prepare for the germs you might encounter along with your turkey and eggnog. While you’re loading up on wrapping paper and candy canes, throw in large vats of hand sanitizer, stacks of tissue boxes, multiple bottles of whatever remedies you might need to see you through. Grab a couple of vaporizers. Like generators after a storm, during the sick, sick holidays, they will be hard to find. Buy ginger ale and saltines, chicken soup and popsicles. Buy it all.
Once you’ve done all that, relax. No, seriously, get some rest. Get fresh air and exercise. Get a flu shot. Give yourself the best chance to avoid the whole thing.
Turkey trots, Hanukah heaves, Christmas croup. You don’t need any of it. Tissues and tinsel. Buy them both.