Holiday events and how COVID-19 affects them

Published by Justin Horton on

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Holiday events and how COVID-19 affects them

It can be a great disappointment when holiday events are cancelled. As many holiday events are heavily impacted by COVID-19, many see social distancing as an opportunity. Rather than simply canceling, some people are transforming social events to virtual gatherings.

COVID-19 is attacking Halloween, Thanksgiving, football, harvest festivals and other autumn activities due to its fast spread with many states seeing it on the rise once again. Not only are many businesses and organizations heavily impacted but also stress relievers such as trick-or-treating, parties and family gatherings. At the same time, tensions are much higher than normal due to the elections, both presidential and otherwise.

Annual Christmas dinner
Photo provided by Kacie Dahl

For example, a small church in Myrtle Creek has been forced to decide not to host its annual Christmas dinner to help avoid spreading the plague. “We are planning on doing some kind of Christmas donation or something instead,” said Pastor Boyd Dahl, though it is unlikely any opportunity to hold a gathering will arise.

This dinner helped feed many local homeless people and those without loved ones with whom to spend the holidays. Dahl and his wife had put on the event because they felt a great compassion to help others in their community. “First thing you have to do is you have to find people with the greatest needs. The people with the greatest needs you don’t hear about because they don’t say anything.”

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Another church in Roseburg called Garden Valley has also had its holiday celebrations impacted. Rather than cancel them or hold them virtually, however, the church has opted to still hold them in person while modifying them to abide by COVID social distancing standards, with the goal of keeping people safe while maintaining festive holiday cheer. While their Thanksgiving event has been cancelled, the church will still be holding a 2-hour outdoor Christmas event on Dec. 13: with hot chocolate, baked goods, and COVID-abiding entertainment. Christi Stone, who is in charge of holiday events at Garden Valley, said, “While we remain respectful of the requirements to live with this disease, we do not live in fear. It is essential to be wise, not to live in fear.”

In the meantime, ASUCC student leadership is also trying to help students celebrate holidays virtually as a campus community. During the week of Halloween, ASUCC came up with a theme for each day: Monday was Makeshift Day; students used household items to create costumes and decorations; Tuesday was Favorite Character Day, so anyone could dress up as their favorite fictional character; Wednesday was a Make-Up Extravaganza to encourage outlandish makeup displays; Thursday was Comfy Cozy, so students could dress up in onesies or their most comfortable pajamas to combat the autumn chill; and finally, Friday was Puns Galore, so costumes should make made some sort of pun (think Ross’ “Spud-nik” costume from Friends).

Plans are not set yet for what ASUCC will schedule regarding Thanksgiving.  “Unfortunately, no official announcements could be made regarding ASUCC’s Thanksgiving baskets,” ASUCC’s President Kamilah Mirza said.

Note: ASUCC has since announced that they are sponsoring free Thanksgiving dinners at Shari’s for a limited number of students. See campus announcements for an application.

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