Gary Horton | Have a Merry (Quiet) COVID Christmas Day

Gary Horton

Christmas arrives in just two days. And COVID-19 is seemingly blocking all the joys and events and fun you’ve come to know and love… and sometimes dread. 

Public service announcements and our more sober public servants are pleading, even begging for you to stay home, to refrain from busy public spaces, and to keep gatherings to your immediate local family. 

What a buzz kill.

But here’s a real Santa Clarita Valley buzz kill. As of just this past Monday, in the SCV alone:

14,122 COVID-19 cases, valleywide.

255 new cases on Monday alone.

101 known COVID-19 deaths.

84 current COVID-19 patients at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

9 COVID-19 deaths at HMNH just this past week alone.

This Christmas, it would be most wise to give yourself the Clint Eastwood “Dirty Harry” treatment: 

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?”

The statistics on who’s getting COVID-19 are shifting. Ages 19-55 is a new hot spot. COVID-19 isn’t just for the Old Folks Home anymore. It’s for you and me and our kids and their kids and their friends. COVID is spreading faster and it’s targeting everyone.

So, ask yourself one question, “Do I feel lucky?” And for your family, the same? 

Well, punk?

Assuming we’re all intelligent, rational creatures, we should follow science — and not the mask-denier crowd — and follow advice this Christmas to lay low. Stay at home. Keep groups to immediate known small circles. Be especially careful for older folks. 

Don’t dream of a white Christmas — dream of a quiet Christmas…

And a quiet New Year’s, too.

The experts were right about the “Thanksgiving Surge.” Cases exploded all over Southern California by multiple factors and our intensive care units are now at zero extra capacity and our own HMNH has seen four times the COVID cases as just a month prior. 

Can you imagine what will happen with a Christmas/New Year’s surge if we don’t cool our heels and conform to Centers for Disease Control and L.A. County Public Health Department guidelines?

Please. Respect science this go-around. Don’t be a punk!

And in doing so, you might still have a great Christmas – in fact, maybe a best Christmas ever.

Because spent right, our quiet moments can be our most rewarding ones. There’s so much we can do…

Write thoughtful, dear letters to your loved and cherished ones. Make them extra special.

Go through all the mail you’ve received for donations and find the right one for you – and help save a puppy, a soccer team, a homeless intervention program – anything.

Be generous with service providers. If you can, raise tip amounts. Tip the newspaper guy. Your cleaner. The bag checker. The coffee guy… Most service folks are really hurting. To the extent you interact with them and are able, be extra generous this year.

Clean out your closet or your drawers. Toss the junk and set aside the really special stuff. Maybe there’s wonderful personal gifts you might give to a daughter, a grandchild, a parent, a friend. Write a note about why it’s special to you and turn something old for you into a very personal gift to someone else.

And as for all those old clothes? Please donate those to homeless shelters, secondhand stores, or anyone you know in need.

We hear, and it’s true – it’s better to give than to receive. With our coming Quiet COVID Christmas, we can make giving “more better” more extra-special than ever before – if we’re mindful, thoughtful and generous.

2020 has dealt us many, many tough cards. If you’ve sidestepped problems, please be generous to others. If you’ve been hurt, please know that hardships don’t generally last forever and good times are forecasted ahead. In all cases, as 2020 winds down through our COVID Christmas and New Year’s – let’s make these last 2020 days a most special, meaningful, soulful time with safe behaviors to benefit others; with extra thoughtful, personal messages and gifts; and with generosity beyond our norm.

This can be a great quiet Christmas!

From Full Speed to Port, a very Merry Christmas to you – and may Peace of Mind return quickly as 2021 arrives and plays out in what will be truly unique and interesting days ahead.


Gary Horton

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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