A Pandemic Christmas: Celebrating the holidays in 2020


For all of us, 2020 has been a year riddled with uncertainty. The pandemic has brought to light many issues that used to lie under the surface, and forced us to adapt to a radically different world, where our most base habits and pleasures have had to be sacrificed for the possibility of returning back to normal. For us internationals, and especially first years, this year has been full of change. The usual sights and sounds of our home countries feel far gone, and the months spent separated from the familiarity of home have altered our being more than any of us ever expected they would.

When I first arrived here in late summer, the Netherlands was rejoicing that cases were low and the economy could, more or less, function as before. Given the relaxation of measures abound, few of us expected a reemergence of the virus and a new lockdown. I, for one, was certain that I could easily return to my family for the holidays come December. Still, 2020 had one last surprise in store for us: another lockdown and the return to a world abound with fear and concern.


However, it is in our human nature to adapt, and find joy in unfortunate circumstances, whether in new or old places, with our families or in their absence, or with our new and old friends. Many of us have returned home and have had a mostly normal Christmas, but those of us that spent the holidays here have had to be a fair bit more creative.


Centuria was considerate of this issue and replaced its originally face-to-face Christmas