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COVID is Home for the Holidays

EN Photo by Julia Bonavita.

By Delinah Rosario
Staff Writer
Due to COVID-19, people have been forced to celebrate events a little differently this year. 
From virtually blowing out candles to staying socially distanced, FGCU students have adapted to this “new way” of living. Some students have even celebrated six feet apart.  
The holidays are a joyous time for celebrating and spending time with friends and family. 
This year, however, the world has had to take a step back and change some of its yearly traditions. 
“We usually have large family gatherings,” said FGCU freshman Jakira Bryan. “This year, however, we had to decrease the number of guests and implement social distancing and masks. Everyone was safe.”
Throughout this time of year, there is a lot of stress and with the pandemic, things have only seemed to get harder. 
Not only has COVID-19 impacted the holidays emotionally, but it also affected families financially. 
Some families were fortunate enough to have holidays this year, whereas others struggled to make ends meet. 
“My family was financially and emotionally impacted,” said FGCU senior Rebecca Paul. “My father lost his job and a close friend of mine lost their home. She and her two babies were, fortunately, able to stay with me. But this still had a financial impact on my family.”
With things rapidly changing, students have had no choice but to adjust. 
Some students were able to go home, while others stayed on campus scared of the risk. Countless students even ordered take-home tests in order to ensure a safe trip. 
Families may not have been able to gather due to high-risk family members or even just out of fear. 
“This year I would have spent Christmas with my mom, but since she worked we didn’t really have a Christmas,” said FGCU freshman Katie Fogarty. “My father is 78 and more prone to getting COVID-19, so me and my younger sisters weren’t able to see him either.”
There are many different Holidays for people to celebrate. 
From Christmas to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, students and families all over the world are taking advantage of this joyous time. 
Even in the midst of change, people are doing their best to enjoy themselves. 
“I celebrate Hanukkah,” said FGCU senior Kierstynn Stanbury. “Me and my mom have usually always lit the candles together most nights, but usually now we just FaceTime when we can. I still like to cook the traditional foods, that’s my favorite part.”
Although the holiday’s this year looked a bit different, students still tried to make the most of every situation. Zoom seemed to be the best platform this year to keep the connections alive. 
“I went home and had a zoom thanksgiving,” said FGCU freshman Alex Webster.. “For New Year’s we celebrated it a little early because my dad worked at one.”
This pandemic has already been around for some time and there is no answer as to when it will die down and go away.
As a society, we just have to continue to be patient and do what we need to adjust. 
When asking students for their hopes for future holidays most of them said the same thing. 
They hope for things to go back to normal and that they can spend time with the people they care for. 
Some students expressed how they believe COVID is going to affect future holiday seasons.  
“Oh yes, COVID has been added to the list of things to always look out for when it comes to flu season, so I believe these kinds of holiday get-togethers will be affected for a few more years,” said FGCU sophomore Jitu Pollock.
As these wintertime holidays and events come and go, many others are also finding ways to celebrate virtually. 
In order to stay connected people are reaching friends, family, and community members through video conferencing and social media. 
People are adapting to new traditions and celebrations to life during a pandemic. Religious services and even family gatherings are now taking place through live streaming or zoom. 
Regardless of the circumstances, people are getting creative and focusing on the heart of the holiday spirit.

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