A hint of peppermint fragrance fills the air, and holiday spirit is buzzing all around. Everyone’s bustling about, getting their plans and gifts in order. Students often meet up with friends and family during winter break to exchange gifts or to talk with one another, and this year they’re finding new ways to do so in a virtual environment.
Freshman Emma Mathew has to change her usual big plans for something a little more intimate.
“This year, I can’t go to a huge gathering or anything,” Mathew said. “I’m planning to stay at home and have several [virtual] gatherings instead of meeting up in person. I’ll probably call my family and friends and just talk to them and make the most of what we have.”
Mathew still manages to stay positive and grateful for what she can do.
“Being online and interacting with people isn’t the same, so it’s kind of disappointing. But at the same time, at least I can talk to them and I’m thankful that everyone in my friend group at least is safe,” Mathew said.
Meanwhile, senior Alan Zhang had to make some changes to his annual plans as well.
“Normally for holidays, we’ll [Zhang and his extended family] get together, have a meal, have some fun and play some cards with friends,” Zhang said.
Instead of a virtual gathering, Zhang’s family is taking COVID tests so they can continue with their holiday plans as usual.
“We still might continue with going over to our cousin’s house because we’re getting COVID tested, so we’re going to see what the results are from that, and hopefully we’ll still do it,” Zhang said.
Zhang also plans on setting up a game night with friends as a means of spending time with them.
“Quarantine has almost become the new norm, so I’m actually not that bothered by it,” Zhang said. “My crew team is my biggest group of friends, and we’re planning a game night to play online games like Among Us or Spyfall or even a Minecraft server or something like that so we still get to hang out and chat.”
Evidently, students are flexible this year when it comes to finding safe, innovative ways to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.
“I think the holidays are just about celebrating and being around the people that you love and care about,” Mathew said. “It’s nice to spend time with the people that make me happy.”