Both students and teachers at American discuss the idea of holiday spirit and how it is affected during the pandemic 

Neha Zope

Staff Writer

     The night sky twinkles with stars as the wind whistles softly, the warming aroma of steaming hot chocolate fills up the air, all while the soft melody of Christmas songs play in the background. As December has arrived, the holidays are rolling around soon, but it might end up different from previous years. In pre-pandemic times, people could celebrate with friends and family and feel happy and pumped to enjoy the holidays. However, the holiday spirit this year may be affected with the current pandemic. 

     Before quarantine, students and teachers of AHS celebrated the holidays in different ways.

     For Mr. Johnson, a history teacher, he used to celebrate Christmas with much enthusiasm. “We [would] have family get-togethers, usually there is some type of dinner. I do have extended family in the Bay Area and sometimes they will come over for a meal.” 

     He explains that one thing he always did during the holidays was cooking in the morning. 

     “I cook[ed] a big family breakfast for Christmas morning, so eggs and the whole nine-yards. We do eat meat so bacon is included with that but we also will sometimes make french toast and sort of have a large kind of thing.”

     Kiarra Bautista (9) states how she usually celebrates Christmas. “Usually I think the night before, Christmas Eve, I would always go to my cousin’s house or they would always come to my house and usually we would have a family dinner until twelve a.m.”

     Senior Ishika Jaiswal explains the typical tradition of her family celebrating Christmas. “For Christmas, we obviously always put the tree. I do not exactly dress up for Christmas, but I always have this one particular pajama set that I always wear on Christmas. That and my mom always makes hot chocolate for Christmas,” she states.

Ishika Jaiswal (12), second from left, celebrated Christmas with her friends last year. She, along with her friends, are dressed in fun Christmas attire that elevates their mood.

     Now, the way people are celebrating Christmas changes, but it might not be all that bad.

    Amani Khanna (10) mentions her plants for the upcoming holidays.

 “For this year, we planned ahead actually. Me and my family are going for a two-day trip to Monterey just to see scenery and take pictures. I know Christmas in the park has a drive-through so you can drive-through and see the lights, so we might do something like that,” Amani Khanna (10) discusses.

     Mr. Johnson touches on how this year, Christmas may actually be a better experience. “We happen to have a vacation cabin over in Wyoming so some years and right now tentatively planned, we are going to go there for Christmas. If we do that, then it’s just going to be the immediate family, but that makes it sort of cool … then it’s an actual White Christmas,” he explains.

     As the pandemic is still an ongoing establishment, this could affect the holiday spirit shown by others.

      Khanna touches on what holiday spirit means. “ I think holiday spirit is all about happiness and spreading cheer. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, just spending time with your family and doing stuff that makes you happy, whether that be face-timing your friends or anything that makes you happy or spreading cheer because it’s hard, there’s not a lot of stuff to look forward to in quarantine, so I think holiday spirit is important to keep us going.”

     Most of the people at American discuss how showing more spirit during these times may be important compared to previous years.

     Jaiswal focuses on the lockdown being established and how that affects spirit. She says “I think [people] should [have more spirit] because we have a lot more time on our hands. I think everyone is kind of done with lockdown and now since the numbers are increasing so much, we are going back into lockdown so since we have a lot more time and people are already kind of disappointed with everything going on right now, I think people should celebrate more than usual.”

    Being thankful can also be an important aspect of showing spirit. Khanna expands, saying “Not a lot of people have everything that we do and it’s important to be thankful for a house, food, and having people around you that make you happy … For previous years, people obviously could go out and do a lot more things than we can do this year but again I think it’s important to be thankful that we are all healthy and doing okay during this stressful time.”

     Mr. Johnson agrees and goes on to explain about different religions celebrating the holidays as well and how quarantine might be a new experience for them. “There are all sorts of different faiths out there and there is a chance for them to have such faith in whatever religion they have or have that center their [holiday] experience too. I know it’s going to be difficult for some to meet with their grandparents or extended family because of Covid-19, so that’s where things like zoom and face-time can sort of come together.”

     Holiday spirit is an important aspect when it comes to celebrating the holidays, so there are a couple ways that people can instill holiday spirit in others and themselves.

     Mr. Johnson takes a new and interesting perspective on celebrating and having holiday spirit this year. He explains that “it’s going to be hard to have some of the traditional things but this is an opportunity to make maybe a new tradition or try to tweak it to make it work so you can have the same kind of connection so that everyone is appreciated.”

     Bautista explains that there are a couple fun and simple ways to bring up the holiday hype. “I think things like playing movies and playing music kind of gets you in the holiday spirit. People can do that virtually over different calls as well.”

     Khanna focuses on her idea of being thankful during the holidays and explains that gratitude can also increase holiday spirit. “Maybe giving out gifts or even just saying thank you for something that people do just makes people’s days,” she suggests.

     The holidays may end up different and in ways stressful this year, but having more spirit and bringing happiness to others and yourself can help improve these times can increase the mood and celebration of the holidays. 

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