This was the year when touching each other got banned. No handshakes, no hugs, definitely no kisses. Suddenly, we were all walking vectors of disease, potential plague-carriers who must shun contact, if we wanted to survive ourselves, and not kill others.
Back in March, when the whole world was in a state of mad panic, I regularly saw joggers dive on to the road in order to avoid going close to pedestrians, causing passing cars to swerve around them. I witnessed police officers forcing a frail old man, resting alone on a park bench, to get up and move on - presumably in case anyone sat down beside him and breathed on him, or he on them.
And these were just the people who dared to emerge from their houses. Everyone else was locked inside, quaking in fear, with enough multi-packs of toilet roll to last them through a nuclear winter.
Touch is vital to human beings. It tells us we are safe, we are welcome, we are loved.
Those who go too long without touch may dwindle into a state of abject loneliness. Some even die. This tragedy has been clearly illustrated in our care homes, where residents have been deprived of their loved ones' presence for months on end.
It may be all for their own good, or so they're told, but that doesn't ameliorate the pain.
Now the authorities, in their manifold and great mercy, have allowed the public a special Christmas dispensation to meet their families. Grandparents will be able to see their young grandchildren, perhaps for the first time in many months. For a brief period, before the prison doors clang shut again, close contact between the generations will be permitted.
So should you give Granny a great big hug at Christmas, now that it's legal?
Regular readers will know that I am profoundly sceptical about the lockdown restrictions and their devastating impact, particularly on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
I am convinced that these extreme measures are neither proportionate nor proven to work.
We have been coerced and panicked into a vast social experiment. Lockdowns are new, they have never been used before, and they were not recommended in the WHO's 2019 pandemic guidelines.
Since then, study after scientific study, based on real-world data and outcomes - not wildly inaccurate modelling - demonstrates that even the most stringent lockdowns have little effect, if any, on mortality rates for Covid-19.
By contrast, the harms caused by lockdown are clear: the missed cancer and cardiovascular diagnoses, the soaring rates of domestic abuse. Children, while themselves not at risk from the virus, are disproportionately affected by anxiety and depression during and after enforced isolation. The economic ruin to come will tip countless numbers into poverty and despair, almost certainly destroying many more lives than those lost to Covid-19.
And then there's the thousands of mysterious excess deaths at home, unrelated to Covid, for which nobody can come up with any plausible explanation other than that they were caused by the effects of lockdown itself.
One thing we do know, however, is that it is overwhelmingly the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, who succumb to the virus. The average age of a Covid death is 82.4 years.
And while rates of infection have been continuing to decline here in Northern Ireland since October, according to the Office for National Statistics, the virus is still present in the community, and we're only at the start of the vaccination programme.
This is why giving elderly grandparents a festive hug this year may not be advisable.
Back in the pre-2019 world, when we were still allowed to think for ourselves, we knew to keep away from frail relatives if we were unwell.
Now we rely on people like Robin Swann and Matt Hancock, God help us, to dictate what we can and cannot do. By so enthusiastically embracing the extreme measures they have imposed on us, we have transferred control of our lives to the authorities. We're all effectively wards of the state.
Because of that, my concern is that some people may cast caution to the winds, during the five-day Christmas armistice, on the bogus assumption that it must be safe to hug Granny if the government permits it. But maybe it isn't.
The way to solve this conundrum is to take back responsibility for our own actions.
Elderly people, in particular, must have their autonomy restored to them. After all, they are the ones who are carrying the real risk.
In the end, the wishes of governments or grandchildren are immaterial. The only person who can decide if she should have a hug this Christmas is Granny herself.