SWEENEY: Christmas in July? 

The holidays are going to be different this year, and that's OK.

This is what I have been telling myself all month to prepare for the inevitable fact that it is just not going to be like other years, and that really is OK.

Like many people, holidays for me tend to consist of a lot of travel. My family lives all over the country: Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey.

A typical Christmas for me consists of traveling to one of these locations and getting to catch up with people that I really only get to see a couple times a year.

This has always been my favorite time of year, as most of my friends (and all of my family) do not live in Michigan.

On a normal year, I enjoy the fact that they're everywhere because I like taking trips to see them. I like traveling, and honestly, not seeing them as often just makes it more special when I'm actually able to.

This year, however, with COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, seeing family over the holidays just does not feel necessary to me.

And while I could spend a lot of time thinking about how different things are this year or about the adjustments I've had to make throughout 2020, I've decided to spend more time focusing on the positives and the things I actually have some control over.

For starters, it's not just me.

Plenty of people are in this position right now. While some people live in the same household as their immediate family, plenty of other people across the country are asking themselves the same questions right now about what is safe and what is unsafe this holiday season.

And while this may not seem like a positive, there is some comfort in knowing that you're not the only one giving something up.

The second realization I had is just because things might look a little different, that doesn't mean you have to give up on the holidays completely.

Personally, I took down my Halloween decorations and began decorating for Christmas on Nov. 1, because if things have to be different this year, then I can at least enjoy my Christmas tree for a month longer than normal.

I also know that despite not being around family or catching up with friends in my hometown, I have two roommates, a dog, cat and a rabbit that keep me busy most days. I can't exactly say I'm ever alone.

And if Christmas this year is just putting the dog in a Christmas sweater and posing him in front of the tree for some holiday photos, then that's OK too.

And last but certainly not least, Christmas is just a day. December is just another month, and I'm perfectly fine with celebrating Christmas in July.

Catherine Sweeney is a reporter for the Herald Review. She can be reached at catherine.sweeney@pioneergroup.com.