NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Celebrating the holidays during the pandemic

The holidays, as festive and jolly as they might seem, can be a stressful time. Adding in a global pandemic that has killed a significant amount of people that has required families and friends to cancel annual traditions, can add to the stress and feelings of depression. There are people connected to Northern Essex Community College who are experiencing this.

Denise Trinidad is a faculty member in Northern Essex Community College. She is from Lawrence, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Trinidad states, ‘I don’t usually travel for the holidays. We have relatives who travel here to celebrate with us. We all gather at my parents’ house.  This year my family and I were hoping to travel to Puerto Rico to celebrate with our family over there.   I was texting with one of my cousins the other day about this. He was looking forward to us celebrating Christmas over there.  I haven’t been to Puerto Ricco since 2011. This year my husband and daughter were able to have Christmas week off, but we won’t be able to travel because of the pandemic. My relatives cannot join us either.”

Being away from your family is not easy especially at the holidays and not being able to spend your happiest times together can be hard, especially when you haven’t seen your family in a while, but there are ways to help people cope with not being able to spend time or travel to spend holidays with family. One great thing you can do is facetime them, which is a great way to keep in touch. You can also send postcards for memories of your family.

The holiday will be different during the lockdown, Trinidad stated how she felt about the holidays being different in the pandemic. ”Yes, in terms of how we’ll come together, it will be different. It was already different during Thanksgiving. This year my sister and her family didn’t gather with us for Thanksgiving. Christmas Eve is a major holiday for us.  It’s always a large gathering of at least 30 people. That won’t be the case this year. My parents are in their 70s, so we need to try to prevent them from getting sick.”

Being home for the holidays can prevent people from getting sick, but staying home for holidays causes people to feel loneliness, but having a large gathering can cause someone in your family to have the virus, so it’s best to spend the time alone in your home where you know you will not get sick and others won’t get sick and there are always ways to communicate with your family during holidays like phone calls and sending them money or food or presents.

Holidays are fun and a jolly time and most people have a favorite holiday they love celebrating with their families. Trinidad states about choosing her favorite holiday, ‘That’s a difficult choice to make. It would be between Easter and Christmas, but if I had to just choose one, I would have to say Christmas. Christmas is a time when we have a bigger gathering of family and friends. We spend more time planning and getting ready for Christmas. When we all come together, there’s a lot of laughter and joy. I love hearing my mother sing songs she learned as a child when her family did parrandas (a Puerto Rican tradition like Christmas Caroling).”

Doing family traditions is very fun and always cherishing moments like that with family is beautiful and so it is tough when these traditions are not happening anymore, but you can always create your traditions without family. It is not the same but it can make great memories, too.

Bryan Fernandez is a student at Northern Essex community college from Bronx, New York, but he currently lives in Lawrence Massachusetts. His major is Communications/journalism. Traveling during holidays can be fun but risky this time of year with the lockdown. Fernandez stated he will not travel during holidays, ” Mostly because there are too many people out and about during that time. And plane tickets are extremely expensive.” Most people will prefer not to travel not only because it is a global pandemic but it’s also a lot cheaper to stay home.

Holidays will be different since there is a lockdown. Fernandez states what he feels about it: ”A lot of people are scared to go out. Even family gatherings must be kept to a minimum.”

Gatherings are not happening and there aren’t many people inside other people’s houses so there’s not a lot of people in a gathering to keep people safe and less worry about what will happen to you as well while being around huge gatherings.

Some will prefer staying in the comfort of their own home rather than being in a huge gathering. Even if there is no lockdown, they prefer to be comfortable in their home, where they can relax. Fernandez states, ”I usually stay home. I am not a huge fan of the holidays, so I usually just stay home and watch movies.”

Holidays are always fun and celebrating with loved ones is even better. Fernandez states what his favorite holiday is and why” Halloween is the only one I look forward to.  I love autumn, and the leaves changing.  I also have a ritual of watching 3 specific movies every year for Halloween.”

All holidays are great and enjoying them is even better. A lot of people like holidays for a lot of different reasons such as watching movies and making holiday traditions.

Mariam Saldivar is a student at Northern Essex Community College from the Dominican Republic who currently lives in Lawrence Massachusetts.

Traveling during holidays can be fun but it can be risky with this pandemic. Saldivar states that sometimes she travels during the holidays ”but I didn’t with this pandemic occurring.”

Traveling to see the family is great but during the lockdown, it is worrisome about the virus and if you do travel the best thing to do is wear a mask, to keep you safe too.

Some people like celebrating the holidays somewhere else or in their own home but in the pandemic that’s not an option to do that.

Saldivar states how she feels about that ”Where I live it’s easier that way” It’s easier and better to spend holidays at home as you can avoid crowded areas and be causing you less stress at home, you get to have quality, private time, and you don’t even have to worry about strangers who get on your nerves.

Saldivar states, ”My favorite holiday is Christmas!”  There are a lot of reasons why people enjoy the holidays especially Christmas like baking cookies and Christmas lights and Christmas movies and gifts, but it can be sad not enjoying this with loved ones but enjoying that alone or with the people you live with is great too.

In conclusion, not being able to spend time with family because of the lockdown can be devastating, but the greatest thing you can do is make your traditions your way.

A lot of people spend the holidays differently and a lot of people have all types of different traditions but as long you are happy that is what matters.

Next year, when the concerns of the pandemic have faded, we can hopefully all look forward to a more normal, joyful holiday season.