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Wrapping up 2020 - A Christmas Tale

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," COVID nipping at your nose - quite the twist to a holiday classic, no?

Christmas has been a nostalgic time for many - opening presents in the morning, watching cheesy movies with their families, from A Charlie Brown Christmas to Elf, decorating the tree with charming momentos and lights. The sound of Christmas carolers might ring in the back of people's heads when remembering what this time of year means to them. Children around the world stay up until their eyes forcibly shut from wondering when Santa may show up to fill their stockings, or lay presents at the base of the tree. Hot chocolate or eggnog fills mugs with cheer and seasonal joy. Parking lots of major department stores overflow from car capacity for those who rush to scrounge for last minute gifts in hopes that their nephew's toy will be in-stock. The season is packed with traditions and rituals that people across the globe and Bella Vista students accumulate from their time on Earth.

However, things have changed a lot since the pandemic hit the world. Despite Christmastime being noted as "the most wonderful time of the year," Bella Vista students may approach the holiday with a melancholy feeling. We asked several students what their favorite traditions for the holidays were. Senior Andrew Lane recalls his family, "Being able to see all the Christmas lights; it makes me sad to know I'm missing one of the best parts of the season" (Andrew Lane, Senior).

Junior Marisa Martinez exclaims, "One tradition we [normally] always do is watch a movie in the theatres, everyone, including my grandma and my five-year old cousin!" (Marisa Martinez, Junior)

It seems as though the masses have skimmed along the top of their to-do lists for activities this year such as a lack of travel; a glum ending to an already disappointing year. A large source of joy for many can be visiting family out of town for the holidays, but the CDC has voted against it, "Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Winter Holidays). Seeing distant relatives is a hazard, but six percent of students who answered the poll, "Are you traveling for Christmas," responded "yes." For those traveling, the CDC recommends staying safe, instructing that you, "Always wear a mask in public settings, when using public transportation, and when around people who you don’t live with," and "Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer." For more information, read their page on how to stay safe for winter holidays.

While some traditions have been put on hold, holidays can be celebrated in quaint, contained ways. Junior Sean Lacey chooses to watch Christmas movies in the safety of his home as a way of spreading cheer. He responded to the question, "What is your favorite Christmas film," expressing, "The Grinch live action, because I enjoy the plot and humor. The characters all look cool with their wacky hair and noses" (Sean Lacey, Junior).

What a year it has been, much of it seems as though events are plucked from the greatest tragedies, written by the most sullen of poets. Everything is uncertain as of now - what a way to end, and unfinished and unresolved problem. At least Christmas is near, and the only worry is the last minute wrapping of presents. Merry Christmas.

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