The Case Against Holiday Gatherings

The Case Against Holiday Gatherings

Lyla Kahrimanovic and Brooke Chapman

ProCon/Con: The Case Against Holiday Gatherings

By: Lyla Kahrimanovic and Brooke Chapman


Con: Lyla Kahrimanovic

    COVID-19 infections skyrocketed, and we are now in the worst months of this pandemic. Data from CNN showed that over Thanksgiving, over 42 million people traveled in the United States. Though that is only 40% of last year’s travel, it was still too much.

    Normally this time of year everyone is everywhere. You go to the mall and get hot chocolate with your friends. You’re running around school celebrating that it’s the day before break. You’re planning sleepovers or meeting at the football field. If it snows, everyone meets on the big hill and sleds. Your visiting family in Denver or going somewhere tropical. But not this year. This year we stay inside. This year there will be no hanging out with friends or last minute shopping. No running through the halls and singing carols. This year is different. This year there are lives on the line, whether you are personally affected or not. The holidays are no longer full of hugs, mall Santas, and it’s not hap-happiest time of the year. This year is full of hand sanitizer, masks, stress, and Yuletide fear. 

    If 40% of people who traveled last year for the holidays traveled this year that would be 46 million people. According to the Center of New Data (an all-volunteer non-profit organization created to provide data about COVID-19); 30% of these people won’t show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning they are more likely to travel again and spread it more. With young people, there is a 40-50% chance you will be asymptomatic according to The New York Times. This data was about America alone, but worldwide there are  73.6 million people infected. 

    Some would argue that the deaths are what matter and that statistically, there is a high rate of survival. And they are not (technically) wrong; the death rate of COVID-19 as of December 16, 2020, is 1.1776%. Which honestly from a mathematical point of view isn’t that bad. Except it is 1,600,000 dead people, they are not just statistics, but actual human beings. 

    Your traveling and mask-less gatherings have killed  1,600,000 people already. You may not know it, or them for that matter, but every time you ignore a guideline or take off your mask you could be killing someone’s, son, daughter, grandmother, mom, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, parent, child. You could be killing someone’s someone. Because traveling for the holidays isn’t like going to the grocery store. It is not like being an essential worker. You don’t have to go out, you do not need to be across the country. It is putting yourself, your loved ones, and thousands of others at risk just because you wanted a Christmas cookie from grandma’s. 

    This pandemic is not a hoax. It’s not the flu. It is not something that will go away on its own. It is real, and here to stay. Unless we do something about it. So stay home, stay safe, and Happy Holidays. 

Con: Brooke Chapman

The leaves are falling, time to get out your turkeys and your Christmas presents. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’. These holidays are centered around coming together as a family, but should we really be coming together?

“These measures are more stringent, our goal is the same: To reduce social interactions where this highly contagious virus can spread. This weapon, distancing ourselves, is the only weapon against this virus. And we have proven that it can work, but only if we actually use it.” Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington. This quote has a point, the only weapon we have on our side is our own will. The will to stay home amidst the pandemic.

A big part of family is the older generations. These older family members may have a tougher time surviving Covid-19. Even if you decide to not celebrate with older family members, there’s a chance all your younger relatives will be not in perfect health. 

Whether it’s asthma, or an auto-immune disease, or just having older organs, there are a ton of health risks people can be suffering from that would put their mortality rate higher in the pandemic. Even for a couple of hours of family time, the risk is too high. 

When the pandemic first began, a huge influence on its fast spread throughout the United States was New Yorkers planting coronavirus in other states. This could happen again as people migrate across states or counties to meet with their families.

 If someone from a higher case area travels to their family’s house, they could be bringing Covid-19 to a smaller, less infected community. If even one person in your family has it, it could indirectly affect an entire community, preventing this is simple, skip this year’s holiday celebrations and stay inside.

There is no way to be careful enough for a Covid-19 themed holiday. Once you sit down to eat there is no way to keep your masks on and six feet of distance between every family member. Even in a very small group, there is no way to 100 percent guarantee that they do not have it, and digging in for supper could result in a group spread of the virus.

One argument I have heard a lot is that we don’t see our families anymore and we just want one normal night. I understand the struggle of isolation. We all miss our beloved family members. But this is not the time to risk their lives for a night of normalcy. If we look back at the past eight to ten months, these unmandated events that are composed of larger groups, no masks, and no social distancing have become super-spreaders of Covid-19. These events that were normal before have become super deadly for the mass population.

“To be socially irresponsible in these times is to risk the lives of our loved ones,” said Inslee in the official ‘Stay Home Stay Healthy’ transcript. These are tough times we are all navigating through, my simple ask is that you think about the risks you are taking meeting your family for the holidays this year.

Although I understand that teenagers cannot fully decide for themselves as parents have their own ideals and rules, it would be responsible to talk about these risks with your parents. Stay home, if not for yourself, for your grandparents and relatives with health issues that depend on staying as healthy as possible until the end of this pandemic.