Home for the Holidays: Reflections from BHS

Anna Huener, Staff Writer

BHS junior Romie Jackson is rarely home for the holidays. A typical Christmas consists of two possibilities. One: Romie will spend the holiday with his father in Vermont, with his three siblings, catching up, playing games, and celebrating. Or two: he goes to visit his mom’s side of the family in Minnesota or Michigan, where he sees grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts. This year, however, Romie will be home, spending Christmas alone with his father.  

Christmas typically involves lots of baking by Jackson’s grandmother. Traditional foods such as sweet rolls and Norwegian Kransekake (pictured) are an important part of Jackson’s Christmas. Photo: Courtesy Romie Jackson

“My dad is in the middle of moving to Nashville,” Jackson said. “He just got back, so he’s here for Christmas, but my stepmom stayed in Nashville, she couldn’t drive up. It’s just going to be me and my dad this year.”

Strict travel regulations and Covid restrictions in Vermont will prevent many from gathering this year, forcing Vermonters to stay home with their immediate families. 

Lazlo Snyder, a BHS senior, is affected by these restrictions.

“We don’t really get to see our family this year,” Snyder said. “We’ve been isolated away from them, and that’s been a big Hallmark of our Christmases. It seems like the whole Christmas spirit has changed pretty significantly this year.”

The dramatic change in circumstances has affected many practices that surround the holiday season. Many traditions are limited, and some are completely impossible.

Each December, BHS sophomore Laura Zhou-Hackett gathers with friends and family for a casual holiday concert.

Zhou-Hackett gathers with friends most Christmases (Zhou-Hackett pictured far right). Photo: Courtesy Laura Zhou-Hackett

“Usually during the holidays we prepare something to play together, for all our parents,” Zhou-Hackett said. “All our friends play instruments, mostly piano and violin, and I have one that plays the flute.”

But social-distancing requires new solutions.

“We’re hosting a Zoom holiday concert online this year,” Zhou Hackett said. “This year everyone’s going to do their own little solo.”

This spirit of positivity and innovation rings true for most throughout the season. While limitations are a disappointment, students are optimistic and grateful for their circumstances.

“It’s definitely going to be less chaotic and more calm this year,” Romie Jackson said. “There’ll be less running around. It’s going to be chill, which is kind of nice.”

Zhou-Hackett agreed that the unique circumstances are in some ways a positive way to spend the season.

“What I’m most excited for is just being able to spend time with my family, because usually we’re always so busy during the school year and I don’t see [them],” Zhou-Hackett said. “It feels good just to slow down a little bit and give them gifts and connect with them, sort of like I did when I was a little kid.”

Lazlo Snyder is grateful for the simple things, despite his disappointment this year.

Snyder poses with his family’s Christmas tree. Photo: Courtesy Lazlo Snyder

“I’ll get to be with my own family, my mom and dad, and my brother, and that’s big,” Snyder said. “That’ll be great.”

Snyder is ambivalent about the season, but is staying open-minded, and hoping for the best holiday possible.

“I think we’ll have to see how it plays out,” Snyder said.