Holiday traditions adapt due to pandemic


Photo Illustration by Grayson Salomon ’22

Due to the pandemic, many people have used Zoom to stay in touch with friends and family instead of traveling this holiday season.

Grayson Salomon ’22, Co Editor In-Chief

The holiday season, for many, means traveling to see family to celebrate the holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Well, that would be the norm if we weren’t in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

Cory Nelson, history teacher, shared, “The pandemic greatly changed my holiday plans because I was planning on going to Thailand for two weeks this holiday season.”

However, the pandemic hasn’t caused some people to completely halt their travels. Raymond Ponce ’22 had to make slight changes to his annual traditions to ensure safety when traveling. Instead of flying, he drove to Lake Tahoe.

Due to the Coronavirus, many places have special requirements for travel. Some states have special travel advisories such as New Jersey where all individuals who are returning from certain states should self quarantine for 14 days after returning.  San Francisco has a mandatory 10 day quarantine for travelers coming from outside of the county.

The CDC has released guidelines for celebrating the holidays safely this year. These guidelines include low to high risk activities, tips for staying overnight or hosting overnight guests, how to serve food and drinks for small gatherings, considerations for hosting guests, and whether having a small gathering is the best idea.

Along with the fact that many won’t be able to see relatives this year, some emotional stress might occur. Counselor of the Class of 2022, David Lin ’99, has had some students who have come to him for advice on how to deal with the holidays during the pandemic. He also shared some advice for all. 

“My advice for people during the holidays is focus on the good and focus on what you can control. I can wake up in the morning and CHOOSE to read a book, think about positive thoughts, go out on a walk and stay active,” shared Lin. 

Lin also stressed the importance of being connected with family, virtually or within the household rather than isolating yourself.

He said, “Family is really all you have in your bubble. Obviously, if you have other family who isn’t around or far away, technology enables us to still keep in contact and FaceTime and hold actual conversations. It may not be the same, but if you’re making the effort and the intention is there, I find it very important to stay connected versus isolating yourself and feeling sorry for yourself.”

And he’s right. In the era we live in, technology has advanced to the point where it only takes a few taps on the phone to video call someone and stay connected. Nelson took advantage of this and video called his family this year on Christmas.

Nelson said, “We Zoomed with my girlfriend’s parents for Christmas Eve dinner, Zoomed with my mom to open Christmas presents on Christmas morning, and Zoomed with my dad and grandma to tell each other Merry Christmas. It was great to keep the Christmas spirit with everyone even though it wasn’t in person. We will adapt to see our loved ones.”

Marcellus Edwards ’22 also took advantage of technology to keep in contact with relatives over the break. He participated in a Secret Santa via Zoom.

“It was different but I still enjoyed seeing and hanging out with my family even if it was over Zoom,” said Edwards.

As for New Year’s Eve, many people usually gather for parties when the clock strikes midnight and exchange hugs and kisses to welcome in the New Year.  Obviously, that isn’t smart or safe right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate still. Some suggestions are to dress up at home, have a video call with family, and celebrate the New Year. To find even more suggestions, a simple Google search will lead to many ideas.

However, if you usually gather near the Bay with friends and family to watch the fireworks at midnight and planned on watching it at home, the San Francisco fireworks were cancelled. But, some enjoyed the many other firework shows being broadcasted across on television, and maybe even heard or saw some illegal ones in the neighborhood.

In the end, Nelson echoed the advice of  those in the medical profession: “Wear a mask everyone so we can travel and be together soon.”