Features Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 3

COVID Holidays

by Kate Beeby

Graphic by Jennifer Notman

Life amidst a pandemic is all but normal. With social distancing in place, the holiday season this year will most likely look different than in years past due to the restrictions that we face. Whether it be less time with extended family and friends or the cancellation of holiday traditions, the holiday season this year will surely be memorable. 

In a survey of the Las Lomas student body, more than half of the students in the sample responded that they would be canceling some of their holiday traditions this year due to COVID restrictions. This should not come as a surprise, as there have been countless restrictions placed on our community to keep us safe. 

Senior Katie Wilson has many holiday traditions, some of which are not entirely possible this year. “I love going into San Francisco to do Christmas shopping and have dinner with my family, which I think we will skip this year,” Wilson said. Wilson went on to describe what a usual Christmas Eve with her family looks like and what changes will be made, “I don’t think that I will be able to go to Christmas Eve service at my church, which is a tradition for our family.”

“There will be no parties or none that I’ll be allowed to go to,” Sophomore Samantha Pierce said. “Usually our family goes to a Christmas party where we play White Elephant. There also won’t be any shows or plays like the Nutcracker.”

About a three-quarter majority of students surveyed said that they have canceled their travel plans for this holiday season due to the pandemic. Sophomore Makena Lee D. Carey commented, “My mom has been pretty fearful of catching and spreading COVID…she’s a pediatric oncology nurse and worried about spreading it to high risk patients.” 

Although many students are not planning on traveling this holiday season, some families have found safe ways to vacation. “I will be going with my family to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving break,” Wilson said. “My brothers are arriving home from college and they will be tested before we drive down. I don’t know if I will personally be tested yet.”

Pierce plans on visiting extended family this holiday season, “For Thanksgiving break I am going to go to Wickenburg, Arizona, and for Christmas I’m going to San Diego, California.” She also mentions, “We plan on getting tested because we are staying with our grandparents who are very vulnerable.”

Many students feel that plane flights are too much of a risk for travel by air to be worth it. “I don’t think that it is safe to be flying on a plane because you are in an enclosed space with recycled air, and there is no ventilation,” Freshman Ellery Brownlee said. “You don’t know who the other people came into contact with, whether or not they were exposed to the virus, or anything else. It is a risk that should not be taken.” 

While some students are strongly opposed to flying this holiday season, some believe that although they might not choose to fly this holiday season, air travel can be done safely. “I think safety depends on the airline and what they are doing for distancing, but I wouldn’t choose to fly if it wasn’t necessary,” Wilson said. “I would not travel by plane to just go on vacation.”

Although almost all of the students surveyed still plan on decorating for the holidays this year, many feel that the holiday spirit will not be quite the same. “Holiday spirit will definitely be affected for me,” Carey said. “The time of year never meant anything; [it was] more the people and the way they felt and acted. I would see family I hadn’t in a while and joke with my friends about holiday celebrations.” 

Wilson agreed saying, “I think people will have less holiday cheer because everyone feels a little down, and people miss seeing their friends and family.”

Like most things this year, the holiday season will change in correspondence with our new normal. Although some traditions will not be carried on this year, there is an opportunity to make new traditions to last a lifetime.