Holiday Celebrations Halted by COVID-19

Lily Heddinghaus, Staff Writer

Pandemics and holidays contradict each other in every way.

Pandemics are for social distancing whereas holidays are for socialization. Pandemics are for stay-at-home orders whereas holidays are for travel. 

COVID-19 canceled many holiday traditions and festivities this year and left students with two weeks of unexpected free-time. 

An informal Instagram poll asked the EHS student body if their holiday break was significantly different this year, and the results showed 72% of students felt their holiday break was unusual.

Senior Anna Kuene spent the holidays “stuck at home.” Her extended family traditionally spends Christmas together eating, exchanging gifts and attending their Christmas Eve church service, but they stayed home this year instead.

While her quarantined Christmas could have been boring, Kuene used the time to be productive. 

“I brainstormed new product ideas for my small calligraphy business, AMKalligraphy, watched Christmas movies, did my nails at home, cleaned and organized my room and went to see Christmas lights with my family,” Kuene said. 

Junior Kate Connor had a similar break. Most of her plans were derailed, and her annual vacation and New Years Eve party were canceled. However, she found safer ways to meet up with her friends. 

“My friends and I had little photoshoots around town and got dressed up,” Connor said. “We made a whole day out of it and had a lot of fun. I also saw Christmas lights and went ice skating in St. Louis, wearing a mask of course.”

Other students, like senior Will Kirk, were just grateful for a relaxing two weeks away from school.

Kirk said he was ready for the first semester to end. He underestimated the difficulty of online learning and decided to take two college courses at Lewis & Clark Community College as well as multiple AP classes at the highschool. 

“The break was very needed,” Kirk said. “The semester was a real grind to get through, and I had to develop lots of new time and stress management skills for my own sanity. This break was very refreshing for me.”

COVID-19 restrictions stole the holiday vacations and large family gatherings, but this year’s simpler break gifted students some much-needed downtime.

“It was so nice to not constantly be thinking, ‘Is there anything else I have to do?’and I didn’t have to think about any assignments,” Kuene said. “Instead, I got to spend more time with my family and do the things I love.”