WJ students share how they will celebrate holidays this year

Kylie Norris

More stories from Kylie Norris


Photo courtesy of Dr. Francis Collins at the NIH

As COVID-19 strikes again, many families are celebrating the holidays over Zoom calls rather than seeing relatives in person.

Let’s admit it: 2020 has been a little rough. From a pandemic, school closures and general uncertainty, to a testy election season, high racial tensions and a presidential impeachment (yes, that was this year) it seems as though instability has become normalcy.

One thing many people learned from all of this insanity is that the people we love keep us grounded – or at least sane – during difficult times. During lockdown, we saw the same people all day, everyday. While that was a little exhausting, they made our lives less monotonous and gave us something to do. When constantly being with family became too much, cell phones provided us with virtual connections to friends and extended family through social media, text messaging, FaceTime and phone calls. There wasn’t much going on, but just sitting down to hear about what other people were doing was always a nice change of pace.

In these stressful times, the ways we’re observing our respective holidays are changing. How have WJ’s students’ holiday traditions evolved?.

“For Christmas, my family and I usually spend time with our family friends from church. We order catering from Korean Corner and spend time at a designated house. Due to COVID-19, we will be taking each other into consideration and not see each other, and I highly advocate for others to do the same,” senior Nicole Kang said.

“For Thanksgiving, it depends. My family is from Puerto Rico, so sometimes we’ll travel over there and spend time with my extended family. Other years we’ll have dinner with a few of my cousins who live in Virginia. This year because of COVID, we’re just having dinner with my immediate family,” sophomore Julia Lebron Eehandy said.

“Normally, I spend every Thanksgiving with my entire family. This year due to COVID, I can’t travel to see them, so I am spending it with the family that lives near me,” senior Catherine Milkovich said.

“For Thanksgiving, my family typically has a huge lunch with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins in Massachusetts. This year, we decided to all get tested and have a smaller celebration with my grandma. We all compete to see who can make the best pie, which is great because then I can eat the pie!” senior Bridget Fannon said.

This holiday season, regardless of the celebration, is unlike any other in a myriad of ways. With travel restrictions, limits on gatherings, changes in religious events and other interruptions, many of our family traditions have been upended. But the things we learned about the importance of coming together and sharing the happy moments shouldn’t be forgotten. We can still enjoy the holidays. Given the year we’ve had, we need to.