Holiday Cheer: A Necessary Remedy After a Hard Year

Emma Truchan, Editor-in-Chief

   2020 has been a burdensome year for many. With 2021 just around the corner, the winter holidays — a time of celebration and joy — are quickly approaching. The cynicism instilled in many during such trying times can brew resentment, especially due to the necessary isolation during what is normally a season of togetherness. This makes the joy associated with the holidays all the more essential this year. This year, the holiday season is what is needed to revive American morale.

   The burdens that recent months have seen have been relentlessly brutal for thousands of America’s small businesses, primarily due to the economic toll that the pandemic has unleashed, narrowing potential for in-person services and connections. According to a survey of 5,800 small businesses, 43 percent had temporarily closed due to COVID-19, and the extended length of necessary closures have heightened the stakes for these fragile businesses ( And, although the revenue-boosting holiday of Black Friday is long past, an enthusiastic holiday spirit could help reinvigorate small businesses if consumers purchase their goods for holiday presents. According to Administrator of the Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza, “Supporting [small] businesses that are pivoting and retooling helps to strengthen, rebuild, and boost our economy” ( Thus, by buying a gift for a loved one, Americans can practice dually beneficial actions: spreading joy and invorgarting the small business economy.

   Unfortunately, the economy is not the only thing that has suffered in recent months, though. Mental health has taken an incredible nosedive relative to prior years. According to a study done by the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 30 percent of people are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression, compared to 6 percent at the same time last year. In addition, the survey showed that 36 percent of people are feeling more anxious about life right now compared to 8 percent last year ( However, the joy and celebration associated with the holiday season can be a bright spot in a generally dark time. Senior Eleah Lee stated, “As the year comes to an end, it’s an opportunity to reflect on 2020 as well as our reasons for being grateful for this year’s positive aspects.” Immersing in the holiday spirit can be a remedy for the emotional turmoil this year has brought, and is therefore needed now more than ever.

   According to the Associated Press, on top of physical division due to pandemic requirements, America is facing unprecedented political and ideological division ( But, the season provides a unique opportunity to bridge these gaps between Americans. As far as physical separation goes, the desire to see loved ones in person can make this season troubling. Yet, there are modern solutions to modern problems. Lee stated, “Despite being physically separated from my family members and friends, I am still able to communicate with them through technology.  This brings me hope that in the future I will still be able to maintain these connections.” And however different this may seem from ideological polarization, this effort for connection speaks to the greater implications of this holiday season: there is hope for something better. The holidays, with their jovial celebration and essence of togetherness, this season can be a turning point in American’s perceptions of commonalities and appreciation.

   Ultimately, the spirit of the holiday season, with its emphasis on goodwill, joy, and hope, can be the defibrillator to America’s faltering heartbeats. As the economy, mental health, and social standing have simultaneously receded, Americans need a sense of comfort and stability to cope with these long-standing and complex issues.