Winter break with COVID-19 With the pandemic still at its peak, students are planning their winter plans differently

After a long virtual semester, students are looking forward to a socially-distanced holiday break. Rather than spending it traveling or doing different activities with friends, many have planned to relax at home and enjoy the company of their family. “I don’t exactly plan to do anything different,” junior Kathy Le said, “However, I am concerned about not being able to see family during this holiday.” Photo Credit: Kristin Bernasor
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Past winter breaks were spent either traveling, visiting family, hanging out with friends, or celebrating winter holidays. It’s a tradition people have carried on for many years. However, this winter break will be a little different for many people, including junior Kathy Le.

Originally planning to hang out with friends and go to California, Le had to cancel her plans and will instead spend time with her family at home doing her usual activities such as practicing art mixed with the holiday spirit.

“My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but we do give small presents to at least acknowledge it,” Le said. “Other than that, I don’t think I would do much this year compared to other breaks. I’ll most likely spend time with friends online, focus more on art, and play games. Also going to California isn’t always over the breaks, so it’s not much. Plus, it’ll be nice to be able to spend time with my family, knowing that instead of working all the time, they could relax.”

Due to the lockdown, Le was used to the idea of staying at home and not bothered by the cancellation of her plans, stating that most of her breaks are usually spent at home. Many students are going to be spending the holidays at home making treats and watching movies rather than their usual activities.

“It’s more of just how I am handling things, most of the time I just shrug it off,” Le said. “Canceling things in general has already been something I’m also used to doing. This year would’ve been my first time to actually go outside and hang out with friends over break, but if anything, a part of me enjoys the indoor life more than going out. That’s why I’m looking forward to being at home and continue doing my hobbies. I might even watch some Christmas movies.”

Although COVID-19 cases had slowed down, due to the recent spike and lingering lockdown, many people have canceled plans. Along with Le, junior Marissa Farkas says it has affected her and her family for their holiday season.

“I kind of expected it [pandemic] to be over since it’s almost been a year,” Farkas said.  “Some of my relatives and family friends who came to visit every year got the virus, so we can’t celebrate this year. And I don’t think it’s safe, at this point, considering the COVID-19 cases.”

Unlike Le, Farkas celebrates Christmas, and every year she gets together with her extended family. However, she also had to cancel celebrations and continue staying at home with household family members.

“I usually meet up with my other family members like grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles,” Farkas said. “Traditionally, my mom, grandmas, and uncle cook for Christmas, and there’s a big feast where everyone sits together. That definitely wouldn’t happen this year to take precautions. We might just talk to our relatives through video call or on the phone.”

Although some students like Le and Farkas will be staying at home, others are planning to travel to their families.

“With COVID-19 happening, we can’t see a lot more of our family than usual,” sophomore Alexandra Blanc-Limon said. “But we still want to see them and celebrate the holidays with them, so that’s why we’ll be traveling. Right now, I feel safe traveling; we just need to follow restrictions like wearing a mask and keeping our distance from others.”

Although Christmas is one of the religious holidays occurring during break, not everyone celebrates, like Le and sophomore Vanessa Thou. Despite this, Thou is excited about spending the two weeks, stress-free and with more sleep.

“I’m mostly looking forward to enjoying my time catching up on my anime and books that I’ve been putting off because of school,” Thou said. “Also, my mom and dad’s birthdays land on Winter Break. We usually go out to eat in a restaurant or buffet, but we can’t go out because of the stay-at-home plan, causing restaurants to be 25% capacity and you have to have a reserved spot too. We’re probably going to get take out food and eat at home, but I’m fine with that since we can at least celebrate my parents’ birthdays.”

Trying to make the most out of the holiday season, people are still planning on bonding with their families in whatever way they can. 

“It’s still the holiday season, but we have to spend it in the safest way possible, so there should be some social distancing,” Blanc-Limon said. “A lot of students have gone through a lot during the school year, and I think Winter Break will help give them a break if they need it.”

How will you be spending the holidays?

How will you be spending the holidays?

I'll just be chilling at home with family.
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I'm not sure just yet.
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I'll be travelling and going to places!
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