As the holidays draw near, stores are now starting to put up holiday decorations. Christmas trees, ornaments and stockings are just of the many being put out for customers to buy. The true spirit of the holidays has awakened. However, this holiday season will look extremely different and be one that goes down in history.
Seniors Noor Zughaibi and Dana Hamdalla are students whose holiday season will change due to the circumstances being faced today with COVID 19.
“The pandemic will ultimately make it harder for me to celebrate the holiday season as I regularly did,” said Zughaibi. “ Obviously I can’t gather with a huge group of friends because of covid and many places that I used to go to are either closed or have limited capacity. The pandemic has made everything hard.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Celebrating for the holidays virtually or with members of one’s household poses a low risk for spread. In-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk. and there are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk, so it is important to consider them individually and together such as the location of the gathering, the number of people that are going to the gathering, the behaviors of the attendees before and after the gathering, and the location of which the attendees will come from.
“The pandemic has changed the holidays for me because this is the time of the year I go out to visit my family back in Ohio, sadly this year I will not be able to,” said Hamdalla.
Even though the holiday season is important for many to gather together with friends and family it is crucial to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC to keep each member safe and healthy and adjust changes in work or necessities during the holiday season.
“The holidays are important to me because I get to spend more time with my family. With school and work it’s hard to balance family time, but the holidays definitely make it easier and more fun,” said Hamdalla.
With the pandemic not going away anytime soon, many people have turned to online websites such as Amazon, eBay and other popular websites to buy gifts for this holiday season to decrease the risks of going out and buying gifts in person. Online sales have increased all across the nation. No matter how difficult it will be for families to gather during the holidays, it will not change the true meaning of the holidays.
“My family doesn’t have a lot of traditions. We don’t celebrate big holidays like Christmas or thanksgiving but that doesn’t mean we don’t spend time together,” said Zughaibi. “Our ‘tradition’ is just to cook a large meal together, sit together, eat, and appreciate what we have set on the table. We have picnics occasionally during the holiday season or give gifts to each other. We just focus on spending time together and cherishing what we have.”
The CDC encourages everyone who is planning to attend gatherings or traveling during the holidays to protect oneself from others, bring supplies such as hand sanitizer and masks, and keep social distance from others. Outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities but if an outdoor event is not possible avoid crowded, poorly ventilated areas. Also keep safe around food and drinks to reduce the risk of illness from common foodborne germs. Lastly, when the celebrations are over, it is recommended to quarantine for 14 days and to consider getting tested.