How to Spend the Holidays at Home

In the midst of a pandemic, traveling by plane or car can be a somewhat difficult task. Whether it is taking a vacation or even simply going to see family, the risk of contracting COVID-19 increases when people come in closer contact with others during their travels.

To prevent the spread of the virus from air travel, cities and states across America have imposed restrictions for quarantines after flights or even required tests at airports for the COVID-19 disease. For example, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced that travelers flying into Los Angeles are required to undergo a mandatory two week quarantine that travelers entering the city are required to acknowledge by signing a form.

Nationwide, the US government has also warned citizens about the danger of traveling in general. According to the CDC’s website, “Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” All of these restrictions have discouraged Americans from traveling, with the TSA reporting that the number of flyers during this time last year compared to now are “dramatically down.”

As winter break nears, many Harvard-Westlake (HW) students and their families have opted to stay home for the holidays. Whether they typically travel during winter break or not, the closures of restaurants and many recreational activities in Los Angeles County make fun activities a little more challenging than usual. Many students have come up with their own, safe plans for how to stay entertained during their two week break.

Everly Isayan ’24 explained that she plans to use winter break as an opportunity for some free time. “My family decided that it would be safest to stay home over the break, she said. “I’m planning on playing a lot of tennis.” Isayan also noted that she plans to get into the holiday spirit by watching holiday movies.

School during the pandemic has made some students more physically drained than before due to students spending hours on Zoom everyday. Isayan and Olivia Baradaran ’24 both explained that they want to use the opportunity of break to relax, take a break from school, and catch up on missed sleep. Baradaran also said, “I want to use the break to re-watch all of the Harry Potter movies.”

Both of these students already have an idea of how they are going to be spending their winter break at home. But if you need help coming up with any activities to do over the break, here are some fun, safe suggestions:

  1. Watch a Movie: There is no better time to get into the holiday spirit than by watching a holiday movie. Grab some popcorn and pick any of these festive movies from Common Sense Media’s “Best Holiday Movies for Kids” or Oprah Magazine’s “34 Best Family Christmas Movies

  2. Read a Book: Although it does not usually snow in Los Angeles, winter is always perfect for getting cozy with a book. HW students can use their HW account to read eBooks provided by the HW Middle School Library on Sora. Or feel free to check out “Best Sellers: Young Adult Hardcover” by the New York Times.

  3. Go for a Walk: As Isayan and Baradaran both mentioned above, winter break is a great time to take a break from Zoom and even just technology in general. Walking, safely with a mask, is a perfect way to clear your mind. It also has great health benefits. According to Harvard Medical School, “Walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation and mental stress.”

  4. Play a Board Game: Board games are a great way to spend time with your family. Games like Monopoly, Clue, Catan, Sorry! or any other games you have at home will ensure plenty of fun and possibly even some friendly competition.

  5. Try Something New: Just like the summer of 2020, many students will be at home with much time on their hands because school is out. The two weeks of winter break are a perfect opportunity to try something new without the stresses and responsibilities of school.

Being home for the holidays doesn’t have to be boring and can actually invite some very fun activities for students. Make sure that whichever activities you decide to do over the break are safe, and that you are making the most of time away from Zoom.

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