Not too long ago there was an expectation that Christmas 2021 would be more "normal" than Christmas 2020.
And in significant ways it will be as, unlike last year, many here in the U.S., in Ireland and around the world, have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Not a few have availed of booster shots.
Arrayed against such positives, however, is the Omicron Variant, a viral Grinch that is pulling hard at the definition of normal. Or the concept of simply more normal.
As the final days to Christmas count down the numbers of Omicron-infected people is counting up. And up.
This variant is like a brushfire. It can burn through vaccine walls at frightening speed. Thankfully, if a person is fully vaccinated and, better again, boosted, a breakthrough infection is unlikely to cause serious illness.
But it can and will cause serious inconvenience at a time of year when people gather in family and larger social groups to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
And it is in this context that 2021 has a familiar ring to it, and is something of a hark back to the lockdown days of a year and more ago.
Hopefully - and hope is a constant no matter what the circumstance - the Omicron surge will be short lived, or relatively so.
But much depends now on those who have, for whatever reason, not availed of Covid-19 vaccination.
Those among them who are out and out anti-vaccers are, in reality, virus facilitators who not only put themselves at risk, but places others at risk too.
If nothing else the Christmas Spirit might turn the minds of some of these folks away from willful ignorance and selfishness, and towards a more enlightened state of mind.
We can only hope.
In the meantime we can embrace Christmas and all its joys as best we can.
And hope that a year from now the world will be "normal" again, at least in the Covid context.
A Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Christmas to all our readers and advertisers, their families and friends. Nollaig Shona Daoibh Go Léir.