The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


Elle Cavanaugh

This season, many families turned to ZOOM, a video chat service, to connect with their extended family and friends.

Elle Cavanaugh, Contributing Writer

After an exhausting year full of fear, stress, and loss, many were expecting to find comfort in the holiday season. News of a vaccine indicating a potential “light at the end of the tunnel” combined with reports of snowfall suggesting a possible “White Christmas” lifted the spirits of Hingham High students and their families.
While things were looking up, with COVID-19 still omnipresent, families had to adjust their celebrations to make everything more COVID-friendly.
Many chose to celebrate the holidays with family or friends. However, between safety precautions, travel restrictions, and constant anxiety, not everyone could spend the holidays with their loved ones. Families had to get creative in their celebrating.
For some, the pandemic did not obstruct any plans. Senior Caitlin Keliher commented, “I usually go over to my aunt’s house for Christmas. Fortunately, because she lives down the street, I was able to do so, but we all had to wear masks and social distance.”
Freshman Ellie McKay’s family adapted to the pandemic similarly. She reported, “My grandfather and aunt came over after my family opened presents, and we all sat in the garage with masks on and doors open.”
Junior Delaney Coppola celebrated Hanukkah by hosting “a socially distanced bonfire with our family friends.” Because Hanukkah lasts eight days, however, “most nights we just lit the candles at my house,” she added.
Wearing masks and social distancing can be a nuisance, but like McKay explained, “Although it wasn’t ideal, and I wish I could have seen all of my family, I’m happy to participate in social distancing, so we can all get back to normal life sooner.”
While some could spend time with extended family while integrating safety guidelines, some families found it a better idea to remain home.
Coppola confessed, “I wish we had gotten to see my relatives, friends from the temple, and other people to celebrate, but I still had a lot of fun with my family.”
Junior Zeke Ader celebrated Hanukkah with his immediate family, like Coppola, but appreciated the quiet celebration explaining, “Hanukkah usually occurs during my family’s regular winter schedule, colliding with school, work, and sports. It was much more peaceful than usual.”
He added, “Despite not being able to celebrate in big groups with the other Jewish Hingham families and not being able to physically be with all my relatives, it was really nice to be able to celebrate the holiday with my close family.”
Other families also remained home but turned to ZOOM to maintain a sense of the holiday spirit.
Junior Lila Mercurio offered, “This year, I celebrated Christmas in my house with my immediate family. Because of COVID, we weren’t able to see our relatives or travel at all, so we set up zooms with our family and friends to celebrate together.”
Zooming with family seemed to be a popular response to celebrating during the pandemic. Junior Will Malloy’s family also utilized ZOOM to normalize the experience. He explained, “Every year, my family does a Yankee swap with my extended family, and this year, although different, we were still able to have just as much fun over zoom.”
Sophomore Olivia Pace’s family played games and told stories over the phone to “make the most of Christmas!”
Junior Deirdre O’Donnell’s family always visits Ireland during the school break. This year was her father’s first Christmas away from his family. O’Donnell explained, “Hopefully next year, the opportunity [to be together] will arise, however, the pandemic introduced to our family a strength for the bond to prevail even when so far apart.”
She zoomed in with her Ireland family as well. She reported, “The chaos and bliss of chatting with family members seemed so distant. However, with some organizational and technical support from the younger kids, all of my cousins, great aunts, and grandmother congregated over ZOOM, and the usual discussions no longer seemed so far. We sang, played various instruments, and looked forward to seeing each other again.”
Although it saddened and frustrated many to adapt their celebrations to the pandemic, HHS families made it work, proving that no virus can (completely) smother the joyous holiday season.
With New Year’s around the corner and a suggested curfew in place, however, it will be interesting to see how people choose to celebrate the end of this horrible year. But for now, Happy Holidays, and we wish you a better New Year.