HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A second holiday season is not quite being celebrated like we are used to.
"We want to be out in outdoor places. We are trying to avoid indoor places, and that's about the best you can do, right? I mean make the most of what you can," said Adnan Khatri, a Houston resident.
Khatri said his family still came in town as planned, however, they are taking extra precautions.
With the surge of the omicron variant, experts suggested people test for COVID before gathering together, which led to a scramble to get at-home tests and long lines at testing sites.
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"If COVID was not here, I was planning to go to India to visit my family. We could have enjoyed with our family because we haven't been to India for the last four years," said Pooja Thakkar.
For Thakkar and her family, the spike in cases meant another Christmas without traveling home.
Many people are wondering if next Christmas will be better. Dr. James McDeavitt with Baylor College of Medicine thinks so.
SEE RELATED STORY: Doctors say they are hopeful 2022 will be different with new tools against COVID-19
"There is another side. There won't be a COVID holiday 2022 edition. I think this is the last holiday where we are going to have this sort of disruption around COVID-19," said McDeavitt.
Doctors said the authorization of the COVID-19 treatment pills also offer hope.
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"It interferes with the virus' ability to replicate itself. It's the number of viruses that make people get sicker, so if we can nip this virus in the bud and prevent a serious case of illness, that has the potential to be a game changer," said Dr. Linda Yancey with Memorial Hermann.
SEE RELATED: FDA authorizes Merck antiviral pill, 2nd easy-to-use drug against COVID
In 2021, it's another Christmas season of COVID-19 caution, with many hoping it will be the last.
"I am really hopeful and hope is what's keeping us going right now. Next spring, hopefully, we'll be there and be able to spend time with our families," said Thakkar.
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2nd holiday season interrupted by COVID, but people hopeful for 'normal' Christmas next year
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