Don’t mute the holidays

Zoom brings holiday joy by connecting families wordwide

2020 has been unforgettable and as the holiday season approaches, conditions will be different from the past. Holidays have always been an important time to join with their friends and family, but there will be some major changes for the holidays during this unique year.  

During the summer, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the Fourth of July were not celebrated as usual. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are usually spent with family and friends celebrating traditions like going to a restaurant, going to the parent’s favorite spot, or even staying at home doing the mother’s or father’s favorite activities. This year, families were not able to gather and celebrate with their extended families but found ways to celebrate virtually such as Zoom video calls and outdoor events with social distancing, while still having fun. The Fourth of July is usually celebrated with fireworks and parties to honor the independence of the United States.  On the other hand, this holiday was celebrated with neighborhood fireworks with households shooting them up into the air because cities canceled the official fireworks shows. 

During Thanksgiving, people celebrate being thankful for what they have and what they have accomplished throughout their lives.  Usually, family and friends from all across the country come together to give thanks for everything that they have. As many people in the United States watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, the parade still occurred this year virtually. The latest government guidelines recommended small gatherings within the same household.

Christmas, a holiday rapidly approaching, is a time when people listen to their favorite Christmas songs, go Christmas shopping, wrap presents, give gifts and get together.  This year, people are looking forward to doing similar activities that will also have to follow the COVID-19 guidelines. 

According to the CDC, people should consider small gatherings of family and friends, which should live in the same household to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  It is not recommended to travel, but if someone is traveling, they should wear a mask in public places, and avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from others, wash hands often with soap and water, use hand sanitizer if washing hands often is not possible, avoid anyone who is sick and avoid touching their face.

According to BBC, European countries are planning to lockdown during the holiday season.  Portugal has the toughest restrictions as COVID-19 cases have been rising in Europe since late October. Therefore, people from all around Europe have been cancelling their plans to travel and visit their family and friends who live in other cities and countries in Europe.

This year in the United States, people are planning to host a virtual party for Christmas, play games and have phone conversations with their loved ones.  Families and friends that live within the same household have plenty of ideas for celebrating Christmas. Many will watch Christmas movies and have dinner together, some will attend an outside event while socially distancing, many have already been driving around their neighborhoods to see the Christmas lights and Christmas decorations that people have put in their houses. This year there are more people spending time together through Zoom, social media, and other virtual resources.

“This year my daughters are coming home from college and it will just be them, my husband and I” said physics teacher Mrs. Shirley Dias. “My family is in India and my husband’s family lives in Illinois, but we will not go to their house this year”.

“For Christmas, my family and I usually have a time of prayer, where we reflect on the birth of Jesus and we meet with our cousins from both sides of the family,” said junior Joanna George. “We share a meal and look at Christmas lights or festivities during the day. However, this year will look different because our cousins might not come over, so we will probably watch Christmas movies and stay indoors”.

As the year ends, normally there is a Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in which a massive crowd of people gather to celebrate a new start. According to the Times Square Twitter, the celebration of the New Year will be virtual this year.  To cheer people from all over the world for going through a difficult year, there will be selected honored guests accompanied by essential workers, first responders, doctors and scientists that will appear, as well as entertainers and performing artists leading up to the new year of 2021.

This year has definitely been different and holidays are being celebrated differently.  As the year ends, people are finding more creative ideas to strengthen their relationships with their loved ones.