How People Spent Their Holidays During Quarantine (And Tips On How To Make Them Better)

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Courtesy Amazon.com

COVID Christmas ornament

Anastasia Gordivsky, Staff Writer

Holidays are always some of the most exciting times of the year. From dressing up in costumes on Halloween to celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa with family and friends to dressing up in costumes on Halloween, many people have a wide variety of traditions, and all of them provide a sense of peace, pleasure, and fun. But after the sudden COVID-19 pandemic occurred in the U.S in March, many rules have been established in order to keep states, cities, and communities safe.

This affects how people have celebrated holidays, since they can’t celebrate in big gatherings, which leaves activities like having an open house with dozens of family or counting down the seconds until midnight in New York City’s Times Square out of the question. Fortunately, there have still been celebrations in quarantines, even if usual traditions may have changed. Here are some ways people have celebrate safely:

Winter holidays:

  • Christmas tree buyers followed social distancing protocol around other people who bought a tree, and wore a face mask to stay safe. People planning on traveling somewhere for the winter holidays and February break should cancel their travel arrangements and stay home instead. Traveling to other places is not an option for people who want the Covid-19 pandemic to end soon.
  • There were still ways to celebrate Hanukkah at home. Lighting candles and making food for Hanukkah were great options. People could still play with dreidels at home. Inviting friends and family for a feast was little different this year by having the feast through Zoom instead.  Rebecca Towvin, 6th grade, said, “Usually, me and my family will invite friends and family over, and we all eat traditional foods and do the traditional ceremonies. I celebrate Hanukkah, so we’ll make latkes and we’ll pass out gelt, which are little chocolate coins, and we will light the menorah for every night of Hanukkah. I think we’re going to actually do that stuff, just we’re going to be zooming with our family and friends and then we are going to eat the meals just with us.”
  • People who celebrate Kwanzaa host festivities and a feast shouldn’t invite too many people to slow down the spread of germs and the coronavirus.
  • Not too many family members from different places should come over to celebrate the winter holidays, and the gathering limit is no more than five people so there will be a smaller chance of getting the coronavirus. “On New Year’s Eve, I invite over my cousins, and we all make random decorations, play games, and of course stay up till midnight so we can watch the countdown.”, says Hina Sheikh, 8th grade, “I don’t think we’ll be able to do much of these gatherings because of the current pandemic. Though if we do, we may have to limit the number of people to as few as possible and enforce the CDC guidelines.”
  • Many new traditions can be tried this year too. Sofia Yusufzai, 7th grade, said, “During the winter holidays, I usually spend time with my family. My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, or any holidays, but we like to use the time to spend it somewhere nice, like, sometimes, we will go on a vacation together, and sometimes if it’s really snowy and we can’t go anywhere, we will usually just stay home and have sleepovers together. Since we can’t see each other, we will probably go and do snowball fights and things like that, like outdoor stuff.” There are plenty of options for new traditions this year, so be creative and come up with a plan!

Thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving dinner hosts couldn’t invite too many people, unless they were family members and/or live nearby.
  • When people shop for food for Thanksgiving, they had to make sure they wore plastic gloves to keep hands clean, and wear a face mask to keep other people safe, and follow the social distancing guidelines by social-distancing from other people to lessen the spread of germs
  • People coming to a Thanksgiving dinner should wear a face mask in order so their families and friends’ families can stay safe from the coronavirus. Staying home and not going to the Thanksgiving dinner was strongly encouraged for people who feel a little sick. They could host their own at home instead. And one should always make sure to wash their hands before eating. Hina Sheikh, an 8th grader, said “We usually celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends, and eat dinner together, talk, and play games.”

Halloween:

A COVID-safe Halloween candy chute
  • Trick-or-treaters couldn’t go with too many people, or went with their families.
  • Refraining from walking up to people’s porches and getting candy from the bowl being held by the person, like people usually do when they trick-or-treat, isn’t safe. A safer option is going to houses with “Help yourself” bowls where they could pick out candy. Try to pick out candy that is wrapped in small bags, where there is a smaller chance of germs getting in.
  • Halloween party hosts should set limits for up to six people to ensure that the party won’t be too dangerous to attend
  • People who handed out treats needed to find creative ways to do so. Some ideas were to make “Help yourself” signs to put in the front yard, and laying out some candy in hand wrapped bags or cups, so the germs from trick-or-treaters’ hands won’t spread to the candy in the other bags/cups. Or try handing out candy through a chute.