COVID-19 masks holiday celebrations


Photo taken by Hayley Brown.

Hamilton Town Center is lit up with Christmas lights, keeping up the holiday spirits during the pandemic. Stores open for holiday shopping on Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and open on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Remember to wear a mask when shopping or walking around Hamilton Town Center to abide by the mall’s mask regulation.

Hayley Brown, Reporter

As the holiday season approaches, many people are preparing with food preparations, shopping and scheduling their COVID-19 testing. Instead of going downtown to look at the Christmas lights with friends or exchanging gifts with extended family on the eighth night of the lighting of the menorah, people will be quarantining and Zooming their loved ones during the holidays this year, according to the Reader’s Digest website. Everyone has different traditions they celebrate during the holidays, but people will be celebrating the holidays with travel restrictions and preparing for the next year.

A lot of our traditions are with my immediate family so we will thankfully get to continue most of those,” senior Kaileigh Stolz said. “One tradition that was up in the air was church on Christmas Eve. Going to church is very important to me and my family, so that is a priority for us this Christmas.”

The CDC has released holiday guidelines for COVID-19. They recommend celebrating the holidays with immediate family in the same household this year, especially if there is a high-risk family member in the household. If there is a party or event someone wants to attend, the CDC suggests looking at the county’s risk for COVID-19, wearing a mask and to quarantine for 14 days prior to attending the gathering. 

“From what I know, we are not going to see extended family this year because someone got COVID-19,” senior Jacob Howell said. “My mom has had breathing problems before, so we’re not risking it.”

One of the high-risk activities during the holidays is meal sharing and the communal food preparations, according to the USCF website. Food can bring people together during the holidays, but this year it can lead to someone contracting the virus. Dr. Maria Raven, chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UCSF, encourages having one person set the table for the meal, having limited people preparing the food and keeping individual families at one table. This creates a “family bubble” at a larger gathering. Another recommendation for the food is to order from a carry-out restaurant that packages the meals individually. 

“I have such a big family and it’s always been a priority to get together so we can stay involved in each other’s lives,” Stolz said.My family and I have talked a lot about the holidays. It’s going to look very different for us.”

There is a psychological disadvantage of COVID-19 during the holidays, according to the University of California San Francisco website. People who are at higher risk such as elderly people and people with underlying health issues are the ones who need human connection more than anyone else. At the end, they have to determine what is more important: their health or human contact. 

“My mom’s side of the family usually does this event called ‘Thanks-Christmas,’ but this year my family is unable to go,” senior Mackenzie Terhune said.

There are many options to stay entertained with family for holidays while being safe.The Apartment Therapy website has a list of activities to do for the holidays. Binging classic Christmas movies, cooking Christmas delicacies from other countries and crafting Christmas decorations for the house are all recommendations.