The Coronavirus Grinch can’t steal Christmas

Christmas traditions are adapted to promote safety

Juniors+Devon+Carlson+and+Bridget+Mills+admire+Christmas+decorations+in+the+Main+Hall.+Two+Christmas+trees+sit+in+the+Main+Hall+while+wreaths+and+garlands+line+the+stairwell+and+walls.

Juniors Devon Carlson and Bridget Mills admire Christmas decorations in the Main Hall. Two Christmas trees sit in the Main Hall while wreaths and garlands line the stairwell and walls.

Darcy Jubb and Ella Noblin

WEB EXCLUSIVE Ongoing Sacred Heart traditions like Noëls, Christmas assemblies, Christmas on Broadway and Christmas chapels are shifting to a virtual setting to ensure community safety, while other traditions, like holiday decorations in the Flood Mansion, prevail in the Main Hall. 

As months have passed with classes and assemblies over Zoom, students and faculty have frequently experienced virtual gatherings, yet Christmas events have never been held online. 

“I think it is really unfortunate that we have to miss out on the fun memories of so many traditions this year,” junior Madeira O’Donnell said. “We can’t recreate the feeling of coming together for a fun celebration in one room, but being over Zoom will keep everybody safe with the Christmas spirit.” 

Even though the Noëls celebration will be held virtually on Dec. 18, the event will showcase some students from the four divisions. 

“The Noëls K-12 celebration will be held online this year and students will be in their normal classrooms at their normal times,” Community Life Chair Paul Pryor Lorentz said. “This year has required some creativity and reinvention when it comes to celebrating traditions.”

Seniors will participate in the celebration by submitting a recording of themselves singing ‘Noël De Notre Dame’ prior to the celebration. Each recording will then be compiled into one recording of all senior voices to be presented on the day of Noëls over Zoom.

“Since only the seniors and eighth graders are singing this year it will not feel like normal Noëls,” O’Donnell said. “I take Spanish and the nervousness and energy of singing in front of the whole community is a feeling you can only get once a year.”

Chapel is being held over Zoom followed by the Christmas assembly to mark the end of the semester on Dec. 22. The Christmas assembly following exam week run by Student Council will be a high school community celebration with holiday themed games and activities. 

Student Council is also hosting a Holiday Extravaganza competition leading up to the assembly where students can submit holiday TikToks, photos of holiday baked goods, pets festively dressed and ugly holiday sweaters. The winners of the competition will be announced during the holiday assembly and spirit points for each entry will be given to their respective grades. 

“Even though the assembly is over Zoom I think it will still be fun because of the holiday competition,” junior Natalie Kushner said. “It is a celebration of what we have accomplished this year which we all need right now.” 

Christmas decorations on campus are unaffected by the pandemic, giving a sense of normalcy to this unusual holiday season. 

“I always look forward to Christmas traditions at Convent,” senior Olivia Callander said. “I love walking into the Main Hall after Thanksgiving and seeing all the decorations.” 

Wreaths, ribbons, and garlands line the entrance and staircases, and two Christmas trees sit in the Main Hall. The Reception Room next to The Belvedere is typically decorated with a Christmas tree, but the space is being utilized as a second grade classroom in order to allow socially distant learning. 

“When I saw the Christmas decorations in the Main Hall it gave me hope and reminded me how things used to be before the coronavirus,” Kushner said. “They bring a sense of stability and positivity to campus which is very needed right now.”

Christmas on Broadway, a daylong event run by the Parent’s Association with holiday activities like a Christmas boutique and gingerbread house making, went virtual earlier this month. With opportunities to order a gingerbread house and holiday gift baskets online as well as  a drive-thru pick-up line that allowed shoppers to see Santa and Mrs. Clause from a distance. 

“It’s kind of like in ‘The Grinch’ when the presents get stolen,” Kushner said. “In the end everyone is still happy because Christmas is about being with people you care about and being grateful for making it through the year.” 

The continuation of Sacred Heart traditions gives the community an opportunity to take a step back from the stress of the pandemic. 

“Even though traditions are slightly different this year the idea of being together as a community is still there,” O’Donnell said. “I’m definitely sad traditions are modified but it will be even more fun when we can all gather in person again some day.”

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