Updated: Jan 12, 2022
By Harshini Dinesh ('23)
Sparkling lights glitter in houses, and the smell of butter cookies wafts by. It’s winter break, and everyone is getting in the holiday mood: singing carols, making gingerbread houses, and drinking hot chocolate.
It should be a beautiful time to travel and spend time with family, but it is not. The pandemic is still going on, and it’s safe to say that staying at home with immediate family is best. Moreover, maintaining safety measures such as quarantining, social distancing, and wearing masks is important.
“Many families will be spending their first holiday season with what Joe Biden so compassionately acknowledged at the debate, ‘an empty seat at the dinner table.’ Looking at that empty chair will be different this year,” said U.S. History and Race, Class, Gender teacher Mr. Ray Quinones.
While winter break is a time of joy for many people, it is not the same for everyone. Many have lost friends and loved ones to the current pandemic. Some are working hard to support their family and have financial stability. Others are facing the stress of maintaining a work-life balance and a positive mental health.
Although the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, people are trying to adapt and enjoy their time with family at home during winter break.
Sophomore Sanchita Dighe said, “My sister and I typically binge-watch movies during winter break and make midnight mug cakes. We also indulge in way too many sweets during this time, but that's just the spirit of winter break!”
2020 has been a tough year and due to the pandemic there are travel restrictions, but students like Sanchita are spending Winter Break with their sibling(s) and are optimistic about Winter Break and the New Year.
Spending time with family is enjoyable, but many students are looking forward to spending more time with their friends too. Due to the current pandemic, students cannot go to school and meet with friends in the hallways or after school like they used to do.
Many students do not have the time or energy to relax with friends online after over four hours of virtual school and homework. However, winter break provides students with the opportunity to call, text, and even FaceTime their friends during the free time, so many students are looking forward to that.
Typically, students also look forward to seeing cousins and extended family, but many cannot this year. Nevertheless, students and their families are picking up alternatives like calling family or having Zoom meets.
Sophomore Savir Nangia explained how his family is going to do this.
“To spend time with extended family, I will most likely have a Zoom call with them all at once and call them to ask how things are going and wish them ‘Happy Holidays!’” said Nangia.
While family time is important, students are also using winter break to focus on self care, personal hobbies, and getting ahead with their work. By self care, most students mean that they are using winter break to fix their sleep schedules and get extra sleep. Nangia mentioned how he is maintaining self care and improving his skills in art during winter break:
“I will spend more time this year doing more independent stuff like art projects and getting organized with work and personal life,” said Nangia
Also, SBHS students and staff are spending more time practicing traditions and reminiscing about the good old days.
Savit and Savir Nangia mentioned how they set up the Christmas tree each year, “We put presents under the Christmas tree, and just watch movies together on Christmas Day and open gifts that we sent one another.”
Many SBHS students have other traditions such as posting holiday pictures on social media, decorating their house, baking goods, watching movies, and playing in the snow too!
Mr. Quinones mentioned, “Every year I watch The Jeffersons Season 4 episode 15, What's Happening, Who's the Boss?, The Wonder Years and other shows. If you think really hard, you can temporarily teleport your mind back to 1983 and forget about all of the problems in World and society. I can almost visualize my parent's TV stand as I watch George Jefferson live up to a promise to make sure there are no more bad Christmas days in Harlem's Apt 5-C.”
Everyone has different traditions, but it is agreeable that something about winter break and the holiday mood makes SBHS students and staff reminiscent about their childhood.