What are People Doing this Holiday Season?


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Photo via CNN: Is it safe to travel for the holidays this year?

During the months leading up to the holiday season, many people in LA and around the world were finally learning to live with the effects of COVID-19. However, Thanksgiving gatherings caused a resurgence, and LA County has implemented a new stay-at-home order because of it. This order takes precaution against yet another surge of travel as well as another spike in cases.

COVID-19 has shaken the world in more than a few ways, and the holiday season has been no exception. A poll conducted of students from high schools across the LA area about whether or not they had plans to travel during their winter break found only 8% of them said they did. This means that 92% of students polled had no travel plans whatsoever.

That 8% of students were asked what their travel plans were and received mixed answers. Hannah Moon, an HGM Sophmore, told me she was going skiing while social distancing because “You don’t go near people when you ski anyways.” However, her plans were canceled when her family found out about the lockdown that has been instated in California.

As for the 92% of interviewees who won’t be traveling, options for holiday plans remain. When asked what they’d be doing, the three most common answers from students were: “sleeping,” “staying home,” and “suffering.” The last being a bleak but honest look into student life in 2020. Three other common answers were working on schoolwork & college-related work, eating various types of food, and playing video games.

On a happier note, however, most of those who said they’d be staying at home included the small but heartwarming detail that they’d be staying in with their families.

In regards to extended families, 25% of students are planning to use Zoom or another video-calling service to see their relatives during the holidays. 

The poll also asked participants, “Did you expect the pandemic to be over by now?” and received an even distribution of responses, although it can still be said that most people thought it would be, as this was the response of 60% of them.

Although travel plans have come to a halt because of the pandemic, holiday shopping is booming. When interviewees explained how theirs had been affected by lockdown and COVID-19, most said that it either hadn’t at all because they shop online regularly, or that it was made even easier thanks to discounts.

However, one student answered that he’s shopped less than in previous years. Catherine Rubio, and HGM senior, lamented that her packages are often delayed. Leslie Arevalo, who graduated from North Hollywood in early 2020, said that she can’t try on clothing, but admits that that’s the only problem.

Lucky Chettupali, an HGM sophomore, pointed out that because she can only shop online, the fun of the holiday shopping spree has been removed.

The last question posed was what activities people were missing other than shopping, some of the most common answers were, of course, seeing friends, as well as attending school.  Another answer that came up more than once was going to the movies. 

Many students also lamented their inability to participate in sports, competitions, clubs, and extracurricular activities. Samantha Krulik, an HGM senior, told me that she had to quit 6 of her 8 clubs because of how dreadfully exhausting Zoom meetings are.

Finally, an unfortunately popular answer to this question was “happiness,” a deficiency that’s rather emblematic of 2020. However, despite all the depressing, forlorn responses, more than anything, students were grateful to be able to spend the holidays with their families.