Finding Ways to Celebrate During a Pandemic

Annabel Andre, Staff Writer

As 2020 comes to an end, students and staff are finding new ways to safely celebrate the holidays. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are struggling to carry out some of their usual holiday traditions, making it difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

For Thanksgiving this year, freshman Aurna Mukhejee went to Corpus Christi with her family. Originally, she and her family were hoping to have Thanksgiving with her cousins but ultimately decided it was unsafe. 

“At the beginning, we were thinking of just having our cousins come over for Thanksgiving break, and we would wear masks around other people but not with each other,” Mukhejee said. “But after a while, we decided that that wouldn’t be very safe, even if it was with our own family. So in my family’s case, I think we’re just trying to be careful around everyone.”

Mukhejee used to live in California near her cousins, but since she has moved, she doesn’t get to see them as often. She wishes she could see more of her family and friends but believes in the importance of staying safe until it’s no longer needed.

“We lived in California for seven years, so it’s definitely a bit of a challenge to not see my cousins every now and then,” Mukhejee said. “After COVID’s over, I hope we can see each other again. I wish there was a little bit more flexibility to see people and not have to constantly wear masks and all that, but obviously, right now, we’re in a situation where that’s quite important.”

Like Mukhejee, sophomore Pallavi Gokul opted to change her holiday plans in order to stay as safe as possible. This year, she was unable to do the holiday activities she usually does, and instead of seeing friends and family for Thanksgiving, she utilized Zoom to see her relatives. 

“Usually we meet with friends for Thanksgiving, but this year, we can’t do that, so we’re having to social distance and do a Zoom call,” Gokul said. “We usually go do holiday activities like see lights, but this year we’re not doing that, we’re just staying at home.”

English teacher Caroline Pinkston’s plans also had to change due to the pandemic. She was no longer able to see her parents for the holidays. She hasn’t had a holiday season without her parents in several years, and according to her, it will be difficult to not see them, but she and her husband will still have Thanksgiving with her in-laws while practicing social distancing. 

“I haven’t seen my parents since February of last year, and it was a really hard choice for me not to go,” Pinkston said. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen them. And then my in-laws are lovely people, but, by nature, they like to hug, and they like to be close, and so we will just have to be socially defensive. I know we will all be doing our best to be as distant as possible, but we all have to be reminding each other a couple of times.”

Pinkston has made plans for the holidays so that she can see some of her family while being safe, but she worries how safe others are being. She hopes that people will try and be as safe as possible and that they modify their holiday plans accordingly.

“I hope that people are staying safe,” Pinkston said. “I keep reading these news stories saying that a really large percentage of Americans actually seem to be planning to just have their holidays as normal, and if that’s true, then I definitely don’t agree with that. But I hope it’s not true. I’m going to have dinner with my family, but it’s going to look different. And it’s going to be structured in a way that you can do it safely, but I hope that other families are doing the same thing, and even if they’re still getting together that they’re modifying their plans so they can be safe. I definitely am worried that a lot of people are not modifying their plans enough.”

As we enter the holiday season, Pinkston feels she needs to warn students and staff to stay safe. She thinks if people aren’t safe over Thanksgiving and winter break, then LASA may need to shut down again due to COVID-19 cases. 

“I hope that our students and teachers will keep in mind that if we all go to see a bunch of other people over the break and then come back into the same classroom after the holidays, then we’re setting ourselves up for a situation,” Pinkston said. “So I hope everybody is taking that seriously as we go into the holidays.”