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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

The stressful side of the holidays

By Neomi Chapelin
Staff Writer

When anybody thinks of the holidays, they imagine bright string lights decorating their hallways while a bundle of gifts sleep underneath their tree, and spending irreplaceable time with their family. That is what the holidays are all about, right? But there is another, darker side to these merry times: one filled with stress, anxiety, and anything but joy. 

Some people already dislike the annoyingly decorative flashing and hypnotic lights, the heavy spending of money on gifts, or even the loss of daylight, but now the pandemic is now thrown into the mix. Those are all understandable things to get upset about, though. 

The Coronavirus prevents families from getting together during holiday times, forces families to hang out in smaller groups, and really washes down the holiday spirit. However, there has been one positive side to all of this—easy shopping. Instead of malls packed to the brim with everybody doing some last-minute shopping, the pandemic has kept many at home. Those at home are buying their gifts through Amazon or other online websites, making the entire process less stressful.

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Although the entire process may be less stressful for consumers, small businesses are the ones truly suffering during this pandemic. Already having to compete against larger businesses like Amazon, the pandemic forces them to either close shop or risk infecting shoppers. This means that the economy, already having taken a nose-dive because of the pandemic, can worsen with the amount of small-businesses closings. And if these owners do shut shop, their source of income may be inadequate.  How will they afford to pay rent, groceries, monthly bills, and other necessities?

 “Small businesses account for 44 percent of all U.S. economic activity,”  Emily Flitter wrote in her New York Times piece, ‘I Can’t Keep Doing This:’ Small-Business Owners Are Giving Up.

Closed shops during the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Rawpixel).

Many families that live in rented homes, especially with a now shaky source of income because of the pandemic, simply cannot pay their bills. There is no money left after taking care of food, electricity, and water to spend on rent. In fact, nearly 200,000 tenants have stopped paying their rent and have gone on strike in New York and Philadelphia. 

“We’ve been saying in the housing-justice movement, ‘We’re just one paycheck away from eviction,’ said Cea Weaver, a strike organizer and housing activist. ‘It’s true. And now everybody knows that it’s true,’” Annie Lowrey wrote for the Atlantic in her own Cancel Rent

Because of the mass amount of tenants not being able to pay rent, Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota (and many others) have proposed a bill that would annul rent. Although this bill freezes rent and home mortgage payments during the pandemic, even supporting the landlords in the process, it is not enough for some. Even before the pandemic, most tenants did not receive aid, meanwhile spending more than half their income on housing in some cases. 

Many were evicted, forced to live on the streets when home-owners receive much more assistance than them. Either hopping from motel to motel, living in shelters, on the street, or in a house with not enough room, the American people are bearing the brunt of this crisis. New policies that support those who need it most must be implemented, now more than ever considering the increasing spread of the Coronavirus.

The holidays this year have been less than merry for families throughout America. Some families worry about whether they will have a home to sleep in, food to put on the table, a pandemic to survive—not about how many presents they will buy for each friend. Although there has been some effort from the government to help those in need, some fear it just may not be enough. 

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The stressful side of the holidays