What Is A Holiday?

By Katia Campos (Reporter ‘22)

There is a lot of life to be seen here on the FCS campus! Students are all buzzing to get home early and begin their Thanksgiving break (and later their winter breaks—let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though). As we get ready to set our tables for the all-American feasts and treats, one thing has remained as the elephant in the room: the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many would agree that much has changed since the pandemic took the world by storm, but how does it affect the holidays in its second year? Will the pandemic affect our sense of what holidays are as a whole as we continue social distancing? What will be the new norms at family get-togethers? FOCUS reporters were on the move to investigate. Before we go into how these holidays have been affected, we must go back to what they were to us beforehand. What is a holiday? How were they celebrated in the past?

Carolyn Walsh (‘22) gave an enlightening answer to these questions, as well as a little glimpse into her family during these momentous occasions: “My definition of a holiday is a celebration of life that is spent with family and the people I love. As I have gotten older, I have realized how much I truly appreciate the time that I get to spend with family, especially those who I might not see every day.” With such a beautiful insight regarding pre-pandemic holidays, it’s a wonder how much COVID-19 has affected such gatherings: “COVID-19 has caused me to be a lot more cautious of my surroundings—especially in group settings—than I had been in the past. While having most celebrations online last year created a great sense of isolation, I think that even now I am still apprehensive in fully re-embracing these holiday traditions. Hopefully, though, I will be able to find a way to safely immerse myself in the holiday spirit this year!” Carolyn’s comments exuded a refreshing dose of hope that we will all find a newfound sense of normality and fully enjoy being together once again.

While it may seem that we’d all have similar experiences with having less family over for the holidays, some say their views of the holidays have hardly changed. Ethan Bobrin (‘22) explained: “My general definition of a holiday is a day when there is no school and [there are moments shared with] extended family. I think I would still have had this definition 3 years ago, but probably with ‘a lot’ in front of ‘extended family.’” When asked how he and his family had adapted to the “pandemic version” of the holidays, he cited the same solution as Carolyn: “We used Zoom for some holidays.” While we might be sick of Zoom, it is something for which we can all be grateful.

It seems that—pandemic aside—we all agree that the holidays connote family. While we are all heading home to our toasty beds and looking for the latest movie to watch together, let’s take a minute to think about why we are grateful, to ponder what our definitions of a holiday are. Happy Holidays, Friends’ Central!