Acute spikes in COVID-19 cases, along with the reenactment of various earlier quarantine protocols, have left Maryland in precarious circumstances for the holiday season. The long weekend that began on the 25th of November marked the first of the many widely celebrated winter holidays. While it was certainly unusual, Centennial students still managed to find ways to share a meal with family for Thanksgiving.
Rainer Kolesar, a senior at Centennial, had to make some big changes in how they celebrated this year. “On a typical Thanksgiving I attend three separate feasts,” they noted. “One with my father’s family, one with my mother’s family, and one on Thanksgiving Day itself with my mother, her brother, his wife, their children, and my gran.”
So, all things considered, their festivities were decidedly different. To stay safe, meals with Kolesar’s extended family were cancelled. “I aided my immediate family in cooking dinner,” Kolesar said, detailing the meal, which consisted of “pasta, stuffing, cooked carrots, roast potatoes, [and] pumpkin pie.”
Gray Ren, a sophomore, observed that not much was different for them in terms of what relatives came to visit. “We don’t do much for Thanksgiving anyway cause my side of the family is the only one in the US,” Ren said. “But we dealt with it well cause we all understand the dangers [of COVID].”
However, they did share one significant difference from the event: “Most of it was outside as opposed to inside.”
Ren also discussed how, coming from a Chinese family, the holiday in general is much different for them culturally. “I think the holiday season is a lot more different for those who aren’t from Western culture, because we all know that this isn’t for us but we just happened to be in the area in which it is [celebrated],” they said. “So it comes in hand with a lot of assimilation and adapting.”
In terms of the rest of the holiday season, Kolesar is certain there will be “a lot more hiding at home and a lot less family functions.” And through all these sudden changes, they expressed “I will miss my first cousins. I am extremely close with them- people regularly mistake us for siblings.”
Because Ren is prepared for smaller holidays, they assume the biggest difference will be purchasing gifts for the family. “I’m sure this year will be mostly just online shopping for holidays,” they said. “Besides that, I just hope we eat inside next time.”
Above all, the holidays are about finding joy, in any way possible. No matter the circumstances, the best we can do is wish each other the best time possible this winter.
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