The Pandemic That Stole Christmas


Jacqueline Kim, Staff Writer

With the rise of COVID cases, the prospects of a normal holiday season seem to be more and more limited with every passing day. Annual holiday traditions and extravaganzas have been put on hold for many, with restrictive travel options and minimal opportunity for larger gatherings. In fact, many sources suggest that the persisting conditions today may be worse than they had been in March and April. However, there are still many alternative ways to enjoy the holiday season while remaining conscious of the current circumstances.

Despite progressions made throughout the summer, recent cases have spiked and are only expected to surge. In fact, major states and cities have begun lockdown again, including California state and New York City. In the case of New Jersey, Governor Murphy has made the executive decision to close all nonessential businesses in response to the rise in cases. It seems as if we may face another lockdown of sorts in a repeat of what we had seen earlier this year. Not very festive at all.

The rising cases have undoubtedly led to many disappointments, in trend with 2020’s precedent. While many held hopes that the COVID situation would have improved by December, this seems not to be the case, promising a very different holiday season. But don’t let COVID temper your holiday spirit! There are yet many alternatives to the traditions we’ve upheld for years, and these are just a few:

  • Zoom!
    • Not only has Zoom become a necessity in the realm of virtual schooling, meetings, and extracurriculars, but it could be the key component of staying connected ––safely!–– with others. Bake holiday cookies, build gingerbread houses, and watch Christmas movies all over Zoom! The possibilities are endless.
  • Netflix Party: Christmas Movie Marathoning
    • If you and your friends have Netflix, this is a perfect outlet to watch Christmas/holiday movies together! Similar to Zoom, Netflix Party allows you to get onto a call with friends while streaming movies, TV shows, etc. from Netflix in real time. The Christmas movie marathon is still on!
  • Handmade Christmas Cards
    • I’m sure you now have a lot of time on your hands, so why not put the time to use and make the Christmas cards you never had the time to write before! Friends, distant family… Remind them that you’re thinking of them by making a meaningful card and appreciating the art of postmail. When’s the last time you had to use a stamp?
  • Postmail: Secret Santa
    • On the topic of postmail, an alternative to avoid direct contact is directly mailing any holiday gifts or packages to friends and family. Although this may be much less exciting than handing the gift yourself, for the sake of safety, this may be the best decision. But, you can always get onto a Zoom call to watch one another open your deliveries “together,” and use this in order to facilitate a Secret Santa among friends!
  • Drive-Thru Light Shows:
    • Another COVID-safe holiday activity includes drive-thru holiday light shows! Find a light show nearby to enjoy a safe show booming with festivity.

Although this year’s holiday season will undoubtedly be different, we can still make the most of our situations. Especially with all the new technology developed in order to stimulate “normal” day-to-day life, we have countless options to celebrate regardless. “It’s impossible to say I’m not disappointed by the limitations of COVID,” said Karis Cho (’23), “but honestly, this is a time we all should reflect on our blessings and not be disappointed with what we don’t have.” So, take advantage of the situation by appreciating time with family and staying connected to friends.

And most importantly, remember to stay safe and healthy! In times such as these, as tempting and harmless as one festive, social gathering may sound, we need to keep in mind that we are facing a dangerous pandemic with numbers continuing to rise with each passing day. “I feel that everyone should understand the severity of the pandemic and to wear a mask when outside,” said Grace Chung (’24). “But of course this all has to do with our individual integrity. Hanging out with friends is totally okay, but only if everyone is trying their best to follow social distancing guidelines.” Overcoming this next wave will require more cooperation from the entire community. So practice proper social distancing, mask-usage, and sanitation, and we’ll power through this (again) together!