A different holiday season

Families are faced with decisions on how to safely celebrate the holidays this year as COVID-19 numbers increase

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Maia Epps, Staff Member

Sophomore Elizabeth Kurowski is one of the millions of American families who are having to spend Christmas and other holidays in a different manner due to COVID-19. Kurowski’s regular holiday traditions and plans have had to undergo significant changes to meet the guidelines put in place by the CDC (Centers of Disease and Control Prevention).
“Normally we get to go up to my grandparents on Christmas Day and spend the day there with my family, but because our family is so large, we are staying home. For the sake of trying to not contribute to the increase in numbers and to not risk the health of anyone, we are staying home this year,” Kurowski said.
Though many people are staying within the CDC’s guidelines and recommendations, many are choosing not to. Kurowski strongly believes that it is the responsibility of young people to keep gatherings to a minimum and to be mindful of others to which COVID-19 poses a bigger threat.
“I think it is our responsibility as kids to be staying at home and not going to parties or hosting them. I think that we are big spreaders, and we often think we are above the virus because it doesn’t target us like it does the elderly. Since so many people won’t be staying home this season, it is important to limit your contact as much as possible so that we don’t pass the virus on,” Kurowski said.
Many people have turned to virtual chatting to replace what would be face to face interaction during the holidays. Kurowski has found that this, though not ideal, has been a viable solution.
“Zoom and Facetime have definitely been something that has been helpful during these unprecedented times. Since we won’t get to see our family, we will more than likely have a Zoom call, which I think will brighten everyone’s mood since we don’t get to see each other,” Kurowski said.
Sophomore Henry Shickel has been facing similar challenges. He too is finding out how to celebrate the holidays in a safe way, and coping with the disappointment that comes with all of the change. Gatherings pose a huge threat to spread COVID-19. Being within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for longer than fifteen minutes can greatly increase the risk of contracting the virus. The CDC advises that the safest way to celebrate the holidays is virtually. Many people plan on using Zoom to chat with family members, just how people have been doing with school, meetings, work and even doctor’s appointments.
“Not being able to do the things we normally do around Christmas time makes me feel sad and kind of distraught. Usually holidays and Christmas time are all about family and being with other people, but because of the pandemic, seeing friends and family won’t be an option. We’ve had to turn to Zoom calls so that we can still talk to each other without being in person,” Shickel said.
Gift giving is a huge part of the holidays, and is something usually done in person. Shickel has found a way to send presents to his family while keeping a safe distance and maintaining limited contact.
“My mom came up with the idea of mailing presents to family and friends rather than giving them out to everyone in person. It’ll take longer, but it will get the job done regardless,” Shickel said.
Shickel believes that it is the adults who have a responsibility during this pandemic. He believes parents are to set an example for their children of what and what not to do during the pandemic.
“In terms of responsibility, I’d say that leans more towards the adults. Adults generally set the example for kids. Plus, seeing people just totally disregarding the CDC guidelines makes me angry. It’s people like that who are the reason we are at the highest Covid numbers yet. They’re the reason that I can’t see anyone except for my house family. If a kid’s parent disregards the CDC guidelines, then it is very likely that they will, too,” Shickel said.
Christmas, usually a time of togetherness, will be notably less eventful this year. Kurowski has dealt with this disappointment by remembering that not getting together with family is ultimately the safe and right choice.
“I think that staying at home will be a big change and make Christmas or holidays in general a little more sad, but on the contrary I know it’s for the best. I’m glad that I know that I won’t be the one spreading anything by staying at home,” Kurowski said.