Normally, many of us would be looking forward to getting together with our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas this time of year. However, COVID-19 has put a damper on holiday celebrations for many families across the country.

With new cases of COVID-19 spiking in most states, many people are deciding to avoid gathering with family members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that in-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk, and that celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread of COVID-19.

My family has made to decision to not get together for the Holidays for the first time in my life. My parents live in Idaho. I have a brother that lives in California, and a brother that lives in Missouri. Both of them have wives a children. My father is a stage 4 cancer survivor, and as a result is immunocompromised. My family is incredibly important to me, and I wouldn't want to do anything to put their lives in danger. I understand that all families don't share the same concern, but my family is taking every precaution to avoid getting infected with COVIS-19, even if that means not spending time together during the holidays.

Deciding to avoid Holiday gatherings with family isn't a easy decision to make. I get sad every time I think about the reality of it. It's not ideal, but either are the number of COVID-19 cases in Montana and Idaho. I will definitely miss spending time with my family, and hope for brighter days ahead.

The decision my family made may not work for all families, but until COVID-19 cases get under control, we've decided that it works best for us.

If you are planning a Holiday celebration, the CDC offers recommendations to help protect individuals and their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. Click here to read CDC recommendations for Holiday celebrations.