2020 Winter activities are limited for all students


Isabella Truong and Anika Sachdeva

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in the requirement of wearing masks and social distancing. Furthermore, with the festive season nearing, a majority of traditional holiday activities have been forced to change or even shut down completely this winter in order to control the spread of the virus. 

Many main events of the upcoming holiday season have shifted or diminished. The usual winter activities this year are going to be much rarer, so it may be harder to find a substitute for these events.  

The coronavirus is a leading issue, and the struggles to spend time with friends and family and trying to forget about a threatening pandemic has put a burn on all of our tongues, and not in the fun hot cocoa way.  

Family Gatherings

The coronavirus pandemic has been very stressful for families. At the beginning of quarantine, almost everyone was looking forward to the holidays, anticipating that the virus would be gone by then. With recent spikes of the coronavirus, the LA County Public of Health Department has advised families to only celebrate with those in the same household. 

This disappoints countless including Megan Choe, freshman and West Ranch student whose family time has been affected by the pandemic.“We still don’t exactly know what we are doing this winter break for sure, however my family will definitely be practicing social distancing,” she said “Whether it’s by staying home and not going on vacation, or by not having dinner with our friends, we will do as much as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

Hanging with Friends

Over the course of a typical winter break, friends would make plans to spend time with one another outside the stress of school. Unfortunately, this year, these annual plans are going to look much different. 

Those wanting to participate in a number of activities will have to limit their time together because a number of festivities are cancelled. Participating in simple activities such as having a sleepover or having a Secret Santa gift exchange will be much harder because of the potentially dangerous consequences. Although, they do have the option of mailing their gifts and opening them together virtually. 

However, if friends do decide to meet, it’s imperative to follow safety precautions of wearing masks and keeping a distance of six feet. This may not seem like the most ideal way to spend time together, but it is important to stay safe. 

Holiday Shopping

This year, holiday shopping is presumably going to be less intense because stores have been keeping most customers waiting outside the establishments. Stores have a 25% limit on the number of customers permitted inside the store at a time, so patience for shoppers will be greatly appreciated by stores. 

Alternatively, people are investing more in the online realm of retail. A high percentage of people today are shopping online on store websites as well as marketing internet sites such as Amazon. People prefer this way of shopping because it’s more convenient and shipping is much easier with advancing transportation methods. 

Additionally, stores have lost a vast majority of sales and customers due to the pandemic. Numerous name brand companies such as Forever 21 and H&M receive a great deal of their yearly sales just from Black Friday alone each year. So the lack of customers in stores made companies depend on online shopping this year, in which record high sales were recorded, according to the New York Times. 

Winter Sports 

Similarly, skiing, ice skating, along with and other winter sports, is going to be modified this year. 

The pandemic has led to ski lodges and cabin resorts losing a large amount of money because of a decline in numbers heading to the slopes this winter. According to Billing Gazette, nearly all companies are going to be putting a ticket sell limit on the amount of people able to attend at a time. 

Locally, lodges have reported to shut down for the winter at the moment. Big Bear Valley currently has 373 cumulative cases of COVID-19, an increase of 31 new cases in the past week. Governor Gavin Newsom considers the winter slopes to not need an immediate opening, according to Big Bear Grizzly, Big Bear’s news website. 

West Ranch freshman Maya Shuper frequently spends the holidays participating in these activities. She stated, “Each year I normally attend Camp Alonim where I can see my friends and participate in a ton of fun winter activities.” She added, “I can’t this year because of corona.” Camp Alonim takes place each winter in Simi Valley and features a variety of festive activities, along with celebrating the religious and festive culture of the holidays.

Similarly, ice skating also was affected throughout this year. Our own IceStation in Valencia has plans to reopen with COVID-19 regulations. They closed at the beginning of the year due to maintenance and funding issues, and was later bought by the Santa Clarita City Council. Officials agreed that any debt owed on the facility would be put on the business, not the city itself. However, due to the coronavirus the opening of the rink will be delayed, and are expected to receive a lack of foot traffic. 


Holiday Festivities

Other fun activities that usually take place include holiday movies and meeting Santa Claus. Meeting Santa is an important tradition for the majority of families with smaller children. However, meeting the jolly old man-in-red this year will come with an alteration of usual routines; children will sit six feet away from Santa and take socially distanced photos, according to USA Today. 

Our very own Westfield Valencia Town Center, has stated that meeting Santa will be a part of the festivities taking place. Customers are expected to create an appointment with Santa before arriving, to help with social distancing in lines. Meeting him will be contactless, according to ABC news. For safety measures they will also be having a temperature screening.  

With theaters being closed and films being pushed back to later years, people are adjusting their normal plans this holiday season. Most usually spend their holiday watching a Christmas movie at the cinema, with relatives or friends. However, countless numbers of families will be rewatching their old movies at home or attending drive-in movies instead with only immediate family. 

West Ranch freshman Taylor Borkowski and her family are among the many families altering their holidays this year. She explained, “We are doing something new this year with just my immediate family, where each night in the five nights leading up to Christmas Eve, someone will host a Christmas themed night.” She continues, “They have to make dinner, decorate, and come up with fun games/activities to play. We’re hoping this will make up for the traditions we had to put on pause for this year, and overall just be a fun time.”

Sometimes having a nice night at home with family, laughing and making new memories, can be equally or even more enjoyable. Being able to figure out another way to celebrate the holidays is very important to continue having a festive attitude. 

New Year’s Eve 

New Year’s Eve takes place near the end of winter break and is equally important to the festivities of winter. According to CBS news, the scheduled ball drop in Times Square, New York, will be held virtually. Several have been looking forward to the ball dropping this season but are disappointed and will have to watch it online. 

The iconic parade that takes place every year in Times Square will be having minor changes as well. This year, the New Year’s parade, hosted by Macy’s, will be taking place online before the ball drops. It has not yet been confirmed how musical artists are going to perform virtually, but hopefully New Year’s Eve will still be exciting like every year. 

Overall, as holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, leaving people disappointed from the adjustments they must make in order to stay safe. Distancing is going to be harder during this time of year but it is still important to remember the problems that come along with not distancing from others.

Even though it isn’t possible to spend the holidays normally this year, families can still have a good time with each other.