By Scott Perry


The traditional Christmas experience involves the coming together of families separated by geography. But with travel being restricted by the Covid-19 virus, many families are staying more separated than usual.

Anyone who travels to Vermont from out of state is required to either quarantine for two weeks or quarantine for one week while also having received a negative Covid test. For many families, this is too much of a hassle and risk to continue having Christmas in the traditional way. I spoke with three students from Harwood about what changes their families have made for this Christmas season.

Silas Yonkman has a fairly traditional and together with family. He’s got a mom, dad, dog, cat, fish, and sister, all under the same roof. Usually, for Christmas, he doesn’t have extended family come up and visit from out of state, so not much has changed this year. His sister is visiting from college in New York and has had to quarantine. The Yonkmans have a very normal Christmas in their future though. The tree, the Christmas dinner, the presents, and everything else will all still be present at this year’s celebration.

“My family decided to cancel Christmas”, was the first thing Harwood student Alex Lynn said to me when I asked him about his family’s Christmas plans.

Alex’s family is different from Silas’. Alex’s parents are divorced, so he usually has two Christmases, one with his dad and one with his mom. Obviously, that is not an ideal situation for the current pandemic, so this year is different. This year Alex is doing Christmas with just his father. Aside from his brother coming up from college in Massachusetts, no extended family from out of state is visiting.

Harwood student River Collins is having a completely different Christmas this year than he has had in the past. His family is separated not only by marriage but also by geography. His father lives in Ohio, where River was born, and his mother lives in Vermont. For every single Christmas of River’s life he has traveled to Ohio for Christmas with his father’s family, this year he is not doing that. This year he is celebrating Christmas with just him and his mom. He bought presents in Vermont for his family in Ohio and is sending said presents to them via mail.

Even though Christmas has had to be changed in many ways to fit the expectations of a society fearful of a pandemic, most families are still finding ways to celebrate the holiday. Even though you probably can’t visit your grandparents, you can still call them or facetime them. Even though you can’t give your cousins gifts in person, you can still mail them the presents. The convenience of not having to travel to see your extended family in person may be a positive discovery for many. Some people may never even decide to go back to the old Christmas.