SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Any other year, Sonia Highbaugh and her family would be spending Christmas gathered at her sister’s house, but in true 2020 fashion, things look a little different this holiday.
“I was sad this year not being able to spend the holidays with my extended family and everyone, but we make those hard decisions for the betterment of everybody,” said Highbaugh. “We actually stayed home, it’s just my immediate family, my boyfriend, and our two boys. We made videos of them opening their gifts so we can share with family so we can feel like we were together.”
Highbaugh works for the Chicano Federation and says through training with the San Diego Latino Health Coalition; she received pointers on how she should be spending the holiday this year.
“With the pandemic, we wanted to be safe. I’m also expecting, so it’s very important for me to stay safe,” she said.
Registered Nurse Francisco Garcia can relate.
“It’s just us three,” said Garcia.
While breaking traditions can be challenging, Garcia, his wife, and daughter also decided to spend Christmas at home together.
“Being a Latino, my family chooses to get together every year for Christmas and have food and presents. Just having everyone together is what we take pride in, and so it’s very different that we’re not around each other this year,” he said.
Working as a registered nurse, Garcia knows all too well the potential consequences of large gatherings during the pandemic, especially after the surge in COVID-19 cases after Thanksgiving celebrations.
“Seeing an influx of patients and the number of patients we’re seeing with COVID as the year went on was a big challenge,” he said.
Health officials across the nation, including here in San Diego County, have urged people to stay home, avoid traveling and large gatherings, despite that some continue to ignore the guidance.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 846,520 people in the United States were screened at TSA checkpoints on Christmas Eve alone, and millions more were screened since last Friday.
Still, many families are playing safe and having a great time doing so.
“It has been fantastic; I think the biggest challenge we’ve had is not burning the Christmas dinner,” said Garcia.
“We have to trust our community. Hopefully other people are being safe so we can be safe,” said Highbaugh.