How Home for the Holidays has a Whole New Meaning

How COVID-19 is changing this year’s holiday season.

Caroline Pugsley, Copy Editor

The holidays are a time when families meet in one place to reconnect, to express their gratitude, and to celebrate the holiday spirit. College kids are excited to come home to see old friends and family, and overall appreciate the place where they grew up. Even adults who have jobs away from family often come home during these special months to be with loved ones and feel the comfort and warmth of family.

2020 is a different story. With COVID-19, coming home is a risk. This year everyone is advised to sacrifice travel and seeing their family for the well-being of society’s public health.

Many American colleges have made the announcement that if students choose to return home they are not allowed to come back to campus for the second semester. This makes students choose between leaving school and returning home to do their work remotely or staying at school during the holiday season. While there are many college freshmen who have chosen to leave school because they want to return home to see their friends and family. There are also those who are remaining on campus.

It is a very hard decision, but for students who are traveling home, it is important to take every precaution. COVID tests are almost necessary before going home so that people do not spread the virus to their families. If one cannot get a test, they should consider quarantining in their rooms or wearing masks around the house.

Most O’Dowd students agree that this year’s holidays will not be the same. Many families have had to make the sacrifice to not see each other because health is more important. This year the theme seems to be large family zoom calls. Another good idea is a distanced hike with family, instead of a large family dinner.

2020 is a year of growth and learning from different experiences. It is time to take a step back to realize what the holidays are really about, especially gratitude and family. Cecily Hayes ’21 shares, “This year allows for an opportunity to talk about issues that have been neglected.” 2020 has brought widespread recognition of America’s flaws and this does not have to stop at the holidays. An example of this is the recognition of the true history of Thanksgiving and sharing it with family prior to the celebration.

The COVID-19 holiday season brings a chance to learn and be grateful for everything one has, especially in the circumstances of this pandemic.