Family Gatherings During the Pandemic

Izzy Song

The holidays are upon us, but with the world buckling under a pandemic, it isn’t exactly easy to gather in groups to commemorate the special occasion. Still, the Westridge community is determined to carry out the festivities.

The quarantine has required that people give up recreational activities such as visits to movie theaters or outings with friends. Although the pandemic forced changes of plans, Westridge students have still found ways to celebrate this month.

“My family and I are going to be preparing a Thanksgiving dinner but on a much smaller scale since we are not inviting anyone over. I’m not totally sure about Christmas, New Year’s, etc. yet, but I would expect something similar,” said Lauren C. ’22.

Also, some students are working hard to keep traditions alive. “A few friends and I are keeping up the tradition of doing a Secret Santa since it can be done completely safely,” Atalanta C. ’23 said.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), a United States agency in charge of protecting citizens from viruses, commented that gatherings are permitted. They gave some advice on how to make the gathering safer, such as meeting in an outdoor setting instead of indoors. They also suggested people celebrate the holidays virtually by sharing a meal or recipe over Zoom. During the quarantine, some have found FaceTime and Zoom very helpful when wanting to connect with friends but are unable to meet in person.

“Currently, my family is separated throughout the country, ranging from Ohio to Massachusetts to California. It’s always hard to stay connected, but we try our best. Once in every while, we will hold a Zoom call with all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents,” said Tilden W. ’25.

Even if the quarantine restricts our family reunions, students express their hope for getting back to normal traditions when the pandemic ends.

Other students express their love for their family.  “I love being able to get together with my family. I think it’s a great opportunity to learn about their stories and who they are,” said Adeline K. ’24.

While some Westridge students have decided to call their families during the holidays, some students decided to meet with family members in person. Atalanta C. ’23 talked about the experience of meeting with her family. “We have met with my grandparents socially distanced and will probably do this again, but my family has decided to mostly stay away from any reunions especially as the numbers spike in Los Angeles. We want to make sure everyone around us is safe, so this seemed like the best path forward for us.”

The pandemic diminished our festivities, but students are still carrying out small celebrations, like watching a Christmas movie with close family. Even if we can’t have the same parties as last year, our holiday cheer is still as strong as ever.