It’s beginning to feel a lot like … normal? The Christmas season is upon us again and millions of Americans are getting ready for their annual trip home for the holidays. This year already seems a far cry from 2020s Christmas of COVID which has many people sheltering at home instead of risking the unavoidable close contact involved with traveling by plane, train, or automobile. Even though it’s only been a year since then, enough time has passed to make the familiar seem kind of strange.
Among those grateful to be back to a semblance of normal are Jimmy Fallon and Matthew McConaughey, who teamed up on Fallon’s Tonight Show on Monday for a paean to how different it feels to get back to normal. Prompted by Fallon’s question about his holiday plans McConaughey explains he’s “going home to spend some quality time with my family.” After expressing their disbelief that it’s been over two years since celebrating the season face-to-face, McConaughey breaks out into a song that is a celebration of all the exceedingly normal things we’ve missed about spending Christmas with our families.
After a rundown of all the things we’ll look forward to seeing this Christmas, from carolers, and toys under the tree, to the usual assortment of problematic relatives, Fallon and McConaughey hit the stage in front of the studio audience — where they are joined by pop-rock trio Haim — for a rendition of the Motown classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. The cast of the video then emerges from backstage and breaks into dance as it begins to snow inside the studio, sweeping up the audience into the celebration.
But … maybe not so fast?
Most Americans have firmed up their travel plans, with AAA estimating that over 109 million people will be flying to their holiday destinations, a 34% rise from last year. But some authorities and members of the health community worry that busy airports and crowded planes may be flashpoints for the new highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19. Yet, with Omicron only having been detected in the states a few weeks ago, it’s unlikely that many people will be altering their holiday plans.
Hopefully, travelers will keep mindful and stay safe and help ensure that this time next year, the new normal is back to being the old normal yet again.