Perspective on Christmas During the Global Pandemic

December 23, 2020

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Courtesy of Nicole Vital (‘22)

Last year, Nicole Vital (‘22) and about seven other families sang carols at the Atria senior living center in Cherry Hill.

Growing up, as soon as my family finished roasting our signature turkey for Thanksgiving, our minds began to drift toward the holidays. Only about a month away from Christmas, we normally start organizing events and contacting family members to join us in our Christmas traditions. The ebullience in the Christmas spirit encourages my cousins, aunts, and uncles to travel from Canada, India, across the United States, and in general, places to enjoy the highly anticipated holiday.

However, in 2020 the highly contagious coronavirus compels us to take precautions. Accordingly, my family’s previous arrangements must be altered to adapt to pandemic-induced circumstances.

Customarily, with about seven other families, we participate in caroling at Christmas time. Specifically, last year we attended the ‘Atria Senior Living’ center, an assisted living facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Our families sang carols for the senior citizens in an effort to brighten their spirits. Also, various members of our merry group presented the senior citizens with instrumental music, playing the piano, guitar, and violin to supplement the carols.

Aside from caroling to spread the joy of the Christmas spirit, we also use the holiday to slide into a decorating frenzy. Every year, we have cousins and friends aid in decorating our Christmas tree, setting up our model nativity scene inside our house, putting up wreaths on every door we can find, and of course, adorning the outside of the house with lights. Along with the dedication of a couple of days to decorate, we also invite families over to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, make gingerbread houses, and participate in ‘Secret Santa,’ where each person receives a gift while keeping the identity of the giver a ‘secret.’ This year, in adherence to social distancing guidelines, we did multiple Zoom calls with family and friends where we still had the Christmas music and spirit, but of course, had to decorate and participate in the rest of the activities solely as a family. We use Zoom as a platform to connect with our family and friends during this distinctive holiday season, and after months of quarantine, we learned to adapt to this new take on the holidays.

Though I had my doubts about the virus still spreading so rampantly in December, it’s clear that as we now approach the holidays there is no real hope for the normalcy of inviting large groups of friends or family members to celebrate. Although the holidays are different this year, we will take necessary social-distancing precautions in order to stay safe during this magical time of year.

Trivia time! From the 126 people that voted on Instagram, only 9 got the correct answer.

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