Covid Can’t Stop the Holidays

By: Katie Patrick'21 and Lucy Palma'23

Who would've thought in March of 2020 that we would still be going through this during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years? Sadly, the holiday season is going to look remarkably different this year due to Covid-19. Every single person in the world is going to have to come up with different ways to celebrate and find new ways to keep their own traditions going. 


Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of the biggest traveling holidays of the year, but not this year. In a survey sent to the entire upper school,  66.9% of 142 students and faculty members in our community are not traveling while 33.1% are going to travel this holiday season. Sophomore Katharine Lavayan’s family has decided not to travel for this holiday season due to worries about “endangering [our] elder relatives.” Just like Katharine, senior Grace Murphy says that “for the first time ever it is going to be just my immediate family for Thanksgiving, I usually have my house filled with family. It is going to be a whole different experience and feeling this year.”  


On the other hand, some students traveled for Thanksgiving and plan to travel for Christmas. Senior Eva Balistriai talks about her trip to Florida for Thanksgiving to visit her grandparents saying that “I have to quarantine for a week before I go, and I am planning on quarantining after and getting tested just to be safe. We are only staying at their house once we are there.” Sophomore Matthew Mantey describes his Thanksgiving as a time for him to see family , including his elderly relatives. His family will be seeing their eldery relatives because they have “been with them the whole time, kind of throughout this whole process.” 


A pandemic does not mean that the holiday spirit disappears! The country has come together to find new and different ways to spread holiday cheer and stay safe at the same time. For example, nothing is going to stop the Macy's Thanksgiving day Parade that has been going on since 1924. It has been altered to no fans on the streets and the parade will only be one block instead of the typical 2.5 mile route. Although there won't be the same large crowd and some parts of the parade itself had to be cancelled, millions will still be able to watch this tradition safely. Freshman Sophie Breckinridge mentioned her family’s new changes to their typical thanksgiving traditions, “my family then grilled our food to make Thanksgiving different and more exciting since we were eating at home.” 


Another popular holiday tradition that is similar to this parade is the New Years eve ball drop in New York City. Every American knows how important and special this tradition is and there is no question there will not be the same crowded Times Square this year. However, nothing can stop the ball from dropping into 2021. People can watch it happen on TV still! Through a press release, Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance has vowed to bring “significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings” for the New Year’s Eve show. That being said, the show plans to still host live performances and bring in many different celebrities to perform to celebrate that we made it through this terrible year. Along with these big traditions, the holiday spirit is still everywhere you go. Christmas lights are out, trees are being sold and peppermint hot chocolate is being made in every coffee shop. 


With the holiday season comes many religious celebrations that are going to look very different this year. With Christmas and Hanukkah coming up, religious services are a must for many families, but being packed into a church with large groups of people does not follow CDC guidelines. Sophomore Claire McConnel’s church has “been holding virtual services since early on in the pandemic'' so her church’s holiday celebrations “will unfortunately be online.” Although most places of worship will be taking a similar route, the holiday season will continue on, and zoom will be most Americans’ method of worship. 


The 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other in our lifetime. Despite all of the changes, families all across the world are coming up with new ways to celebrate safely, keep traditions alive and finding new ways to share quality time together. This year has been a rocky one, but it is almost over and there is light at the end of the tunnel.