Financial hardship during the holidays

Written By Shannon Hartnett, Co-Opinions Editor

The holidays are going to be looking a little different this year. But of course we knew that already. The pandemic is still in full swing, and many are choosing to spend their holidays differently than they have in the past. The only thing that hopefully isn’t going to change this holiday season is the spirit of giving. Unless you were one of the 30 million Americans that suffered reduced hours or job loss during the pandemic. 


As of August, according to 22,160,000 Americans have lost their job due to the pandemic. also said that 42% of jobs have been recovered by this time. That’s still a larger percentage that still does not have their jobs back. To continue on this train of unemployment, the rate is currently at 6.7%. That is still 10.6 million Americans who are still suffering from job loss.


 Of course, not all of these people lost their job during the pandemic, and this number does not account for all of the people who still have jobs but are still struggling through the pandemic. It does not account for parents who had to step away from work to homeschool their children when schools shut down, it does not account for people whose hours have been reduced due to the virus, it does not account for people who have been laid off and are not currently working, and it doesn’t count for people who have jobs but are not able to open their business. 


And this is not just a current situation. This has been going on since March. I can speak from experience in this area as well. I developed a pattern over the last couple years. Work hard all summer long and then use that money to get myself through school during the fall and winter months. Pick up a side job here and there in the winter and boom, I am a college student who is able to focus on my studies and still maintain my bank account. 


Well, life didn’t exactly go as planned this year. My summer job got cut in half. I didn’t get to work all the hours I usually did. My winter side jobs are gone because the virus hasn’t gone away. At first, I didn’t think this was going to affect me too much, but boy how I overestimated the stretch of money. Thankfully, I can still say that I have some finances stored and that I have a family to support me if needed, but not everyone is that lucky. 


Americans are continuing to suffer economically, physically and mentally from the pandemic, and I haven’t heard anything about aid from the government in weeks and during the holidays to boot. I know many people who usually receive Christmas bonuses that help fill their holiday season with cheer. 


The point I want to make is that because Americans are missing out on the crucial, life-sustaining paychecks, our holidays are going to be looking more different than ever. No one can afford to have a normal holiday season. Americans are broke, tired and not at all in the giving spirit because they have nothing to give. 


It’s really hard to get into the holiday spirit when you are unable to enjoy everything you love about the holidays. Do not fret if you cannot give the gifts you imagined you would to your loved ones. A much greater gift this year will be to stay safe and stay healthy.


 Don’t worry about not being able to afford the new PS5 for your niece, but instead rejoice in the fact that she is healthy. It is okay if you couldn’t buy your Dad that new silver necklace he’s been hoping for, I’m sure he’s happy you will be around to buy it for him next year. 


And personally, if I was in charge of giving our government presents, I would give them all a large lump of coal.