Christmas traditions evolve alongside COVID-19 restrictions


Kyler Allred

Sophomore Kacin Allred wraps presents near the Christmas tree waiting for the big day to come. Christmas, which is less than two weeks away, has changed significantly this year due to COVID-19.

After the long and hard year of 2020, the light at the end of the tunnel is nearing. Christmas has been a joy in people’s lives for the longest time and now, amidst the pandemic, it is even more so. Having been cooped up and kept inside for a major part of the year, Christmas is quite literally brightening the world. 


With houses covered in lights and Christmas music blaring since right after Halloween, it is hard to ignore the ongoing pandemonium shouting “Merry Christmas!” Although spirits have been lifted, many traditions are going to be changed due to COVID-19 guidelines and safety priorities. 


Many holiday traditions can be very unsafe to practice while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, which has disappointed plenty. Large parties and gatherings have been discouraged and many school holiday functions have been cancelled. This means that there are no dances, no large family dinners, and no sports tournaments. For high school students, a whole slew of traditions call for a large group of people, Senior Macayela Hanks said that her “all time favorite holiday tradition is when me and my friends do a white elephant gift exchange, last year we gathered like 15-20 people and traded our gifts.”


White elephant gift exchanges are one of the most popular holiday party games. Essentially, a large group of people gather together and exchange gifts in a fashion that involves stealing and funny presents. This activity, due to the necessity of a large group of people, is not recommended in order to prevent the spread. 


David Hall, who is currently in his sophomore year, explained that he would always “go to an elderly home every year and sing Christmas carols to the old people.” Making people happy has always been an important part of the Christmas season, but because the elderly have been deemed more susceptible to the virus, this form of service cannot be done for obvious safety concerns.


Pushing forward, many have found that there are equally delightful alternatives to the holiday traditions that are not safe. Hanks expressed that, “this year we decided to do a secret Santa with a couple of close friends instead of our normal party.” Secret Santa, because of the secrecy used to buy and deliver the gifts, can be very safe. 


Friends can use smaller groups and the gifts would not be passing from hand to hand. Junior Leah Davis said that “since I have a huge family, I am going to be Facetiming them instead of our usual extended family Christmas dinner.” Instead of putting family members at risk, Facetime or Skype can be used to contact and show love to those who can not make it.


Christmas will always be Christmas. This year, it will just have to look a little different. People may be Facetiming instead of partying, but it will not change the fact that Christmas is about having joy, and nothing can take that away.