Students’ holiday plans during COVID-19

Solon High School engaging in holiday traditions in 2019 before COVID-19 hit.

Solon High School engaging in holiday traditions in 2019 before COVID-19 hit.

Savannah Loeschen and Clare Atheneos

The year 2020 has been filled with surprises and twists at every corner. However, not many people could have been able to anticipate that COVID-19 would have been so long-lasting and impactful that people would be questioning the safety of spending holidays with their family. 

With the Coronavirus cases being higher than ever in Ohio and reaching over 500 thousand, Gov. DeWine is informing people that he believes it would be best for people not to celebrate holidays with large groups. That still leaves many people who do not want to be separated from their families.

“Usually every year we go to my dad’s side [of the family] on Christmas day,” said Solon High School freshman Ella Giallanza. “But now that is canceled because they are scared.”

Many people’s holiday traditions will come to a halt this year because of the virus, just like Giallanza and her family. Family parties are not the only factors being impacted, either.

Giallanza also mentioned that when her family is not home for the holidays, “We usually go on vacation,” Giallanza said. “But this year we can’t travel, and even if it got better we wouldn’t go because we would have to quarantine.”

One way or another, people are being affected during these months. There have not been many situations in which people can plan for a good holiday without plans being altered. Families having relatives all over the world has made it especially challenging. Sophomore at Solon High School, Ester Baek, has a first-hand experience with this struggle. 

“Due to COVID-19 they’re not allowed to [visit] anymore,” Baek said. “My aunts and uncles from around the country also cannot come because of their regulations and their own accommodations.” 

Juliet Coll, another freshman at SHS, notices the changes occurring as well.

“I think that with the conditions that we are in right now a lot of people are missing their families and wishing they could be socializing with other people,” Coll said. “Many people had plans to spend the holidays with their families, but with COVID getting much worse right now people are trying to hold back on traveling.

“Many families are still hopeful that by the time Christmas is here we will be able to travel and spend the holidays with our families,” Coll explained how she sympathizes with the people hurting to be with their families right now while also being aware of the risks that are at stake.

It has become increasingly hard to make adjustments and not have the ones you love around to celebrate the joy of the holiday. Especially when it means not spending time with those you don’t get to see all too often. 

“We normally have close family friends and a bunch of people come bake and decorate cookies,” sophomore Leyla Torres said. “This year we’re not going to do that because of COVID.” 

 These months have been a tug-of-war between what people feel is right and what they really want to do. While a year can go by quickly, the more holidays and big celebrations that people are skipping out on the less they are inclined to continue doing what they feel is safe.

“Part of my family usually comes over after they have their own get-together,” said senior Maleya Cruz. “But since they didn’t come for Thanksgiving, I doubt they’d come for Christmas, which brings me down because that’s the part of my family that I have more fun with.”

 Cruz is struggling with being able to spend time with the part of her family who is not afraid, while still being kept away from any other relatives. It has become increasingly hard, for herself and others, to make adjustments and not have the ones you love around to celebrate the joy of the holiday. Especially when it means not spending time with those you don’t get to see all too often.

“Since I have such a big family, if cases start to rise again I feel like my distant family from Columbus probably won’t come,” Cruz said. “[This] is sad because they just had a baby and we haven’t met him yet.” 

Many people like Cruz are emotionally exhausted over this year, and the events that they are only experiencing half way. Having to skip birthdays and holidays month after month has been detrimental to families and children, according to Cruz.

Although some are struggling to get back into the norm by finding ways around not seeing families, some are still doing similar things they would normally do. 

“Me, my brother, and my mom are going to open presents when we wake up,” junior Jakon Oldenburg said. “I’ll end up going to my girlfriend’s house and opening presents with her family.”

According to Oldenburg, these times have been rough, but having a few things stay the same makes it a little bit easier to deal with. This is something some people are able to agree with and see as a moment to cherish. 

While some are finding adjustments to have some sense of normalcy, others are able to have a sigh of relief and have an unchanged day. That can be a reward considering all of the changes COVID-19 has brought upon everybody. 

It’s not just holidays that people are missing out on, but there are also big milestones happening in relatives’ lives, such as the birth of babies, that people do not get to celebrate with the rest of their family.

With the holidays around the corner, people are scrambling to figure out their plans for this year. Many people have expressed how COVID-19 has taken a toll on everybody in its own way. Some thought things would be back to normal, but now many people are having to adjust accordingly in order to protect themselves and their families. Even though things may be different, people are doing their best to cope with the changes.