Finding holiday cheer in 2020

Many families have scrapped or altered their original holiday plans, but stay immersed in the holiday spirit

A+colorful+Christmas+light+display+at+Northbrook+Court+is+part+of+a+unique+2020+holiday+experience

Grace Yoon

A colorful Christmas light display at Northbrook Court is part of a unique 2020 holiday experience

This holiday season, many  New Trier families will have to spend the holidays at home. This year, the focus will be about the local festivities and the creative ideas families come up with. 

With infection rates up in most of the country, a majority of students did not make plans to travel. Staying inside, or finding local COVID-friendly activities seems to be the plan. 

We usually host Christmas Eve with 20-40 people and this year we can’t. We go to three different events in Skokie as a tradition but this year we can’t. We also go see a play in the city every year for Christmas but this year we can’t”

— Molly Mackinnon

“We usually host Christmas Eve with 20-40 people and this year we can’t. We go to three different events in Skokie as a tradition but this year we can’t. We also go see a play in the city every year for Christmas but this year we can’t,” said freshman, Molly Mackinnon. 

The Mackinnon family modified their yearly tradition to make it safe. Instead of seeing a play, they will watch a movie at home. 

A fluorescent tunnel of lights, part of the Northbrook Court Let It Shine Show, guides community members through the display | Yoon

“For Christmas Eve, we are going to have my grandpa over outside with the heat lamps and have the fire put on in the afternoon so it will be lights out,” said Mackinnon. 

On the neighborhood social app, Nextdoor, North Shore residents have posted ideas of activities to do with friends and family during the quarantined winter.

“I went to the Let It Shine show at the Northbrook Court and I loved it. 23 minutes of driving 0-5 mph through beautiful lights.  All lights are synced with the music you play on a specific radio station,” said resident, Mariam Pauls. 

Some residents have created holiday contests that bring the community together. Ideas like Christmas lights, window decorating, and lawn decorating have been common competitions on the North Shore. Currently there is a holiday window decorating competition in Glenview.  

 “Participating merchants have joined together for some holiday fun by decorating windows,” said resident Jane Axelrod.  

 The winners will be announced on Dec. 16 after residents vote for the best display. First prize will be a $100 shopping spree at a group of selected businesses in Glenview. Second prize will be a $50 shopping spree. Prizes are provided by the investment company, Edward Jones. 

Store windows in Glencoe participate in a window decorating contest is sponsored by the firm Edward Jones | Yoon

“My holiday plans as of right now are honestly nothing, just staying at home,” said junior Ben Walker. 

Like Walker, junior Kaitlyn Kirkland will be spending time with family at home. 

“Nothing was ever set, but we were thinking of touring colleges over the break,” said junior, Kaitlyn Kirkland.

For freshman, Daniel Chang, his travel plans changed and now he will spend time with his immediate family.

“We were planning to go visit my brother at his college for winter break which is in California, but because of COVID, we are unable to,” said Chang. 

Junior Charlie Oleskar said he expected the pandemic to last this long so his family did not make any travel plans. He plans to watch football, spend time with family and friends, and to have as much fun in quarantine as possible. 

“This will probably be the last boost we need hopefully to get through all of this craziness. If we enjoy ourselves, and give and receive happiness, then we will be ready for the rest of the COVID,” said Oleskar.