Have the holidays gone back to normal post-Covid?


Photo by Sophia Fritsch

Students compete in a door-decorating contest among homeroom classes the week before winter break.

It’s the day before everyone leaves for winter break, and your elementary school classroom is decorated with cut-out paper snowflakes and finger-painted snowmen. Everyone watches “The Polar Express” on the screen, and there’s a dusting of white snow on the ground.

This is the holiday feeling we all remember. It’s the childish excitement we look back on with bittersweet nostalgia. Holidays brought vacations, time with family, and, best of all, excitement. Now it grows harder to ignore the absence of magic and bliss in our holiday season. Winter break becomes a time to work on college apps and catch up on sleep. And since Covid, spending time with family seems foreign and awkward. The fever dream of the pandemic seemed like a two-year blip where all holiday traditions had to change. Going back to “normalcy” almost seems impossible. Is that the reason for this change in the holiday spirit? Or is this what growing up feels like?

Senior Zachary Eig believes snow is a big part of holiday excitement. The thrill of putting a spoon in the freezer or wearing pajamas inside out has disappeared. “We haven’t had a fun snow day in forever. Winters are definitely not the same,” Eig said.

As high schoolers, the workload is significantly more. Junior Jadyn Walsh remembers when teachers didn’t give out homework over break. “High schoolers have so much more work and stress so it’s just not as fun,” Walsh said.

And with the isolation of the pandemic, family time has turned into a logistical mess of Covid testing, anxiety and confusion. “Definitely post Covid the holidays seem so much more depressing,” Walsh said.

Senior Annika Chapman said the pandemic actually provided a sense of false calm before the storm of going “back to normal.” “Trying to go back to how it was seems awkward since we got used to being just our family for so long,” Chapman said.

Connecting with extended family seems strained as we’ve endured a pivotal period of maturity without that socialization.

Is this awkwardness with family and stress around work through the holidays just a taste of adulthood? Or is this still the lingering effects of a pandemic holiday daze? The lines seem blurry, and maybe it is a combination of both. All it shows us is how to appreciate embracing new traditions and comforting quality time with family.