As the year 2020 draws to a close, Americans — like others around the world — are adjusting their holiday traditions due to health guidelines. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, people are showing resourcefulness in spreading kindness and joy.
At U.S. hospitals from coast to coast, medical professionals put up colorful decorations to cheer patients and staffers alike.
Here, medical staff member Anita Pandey, at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, holds a Christmas decoration at the nursing station in the COVID-19 ward.
Americans are stepping up to donate funds and groceries and volunteer their time to help feed neighbors in need during the holiday season. From the beginning of March through the end of October, U.S. food banks distributed an estimated 4.2 billion meals, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, food pantries and meal programs.
At left, boxes of food on pallets await distribution by Los Angeles Food Bank volunteers. At right, volunteers load food as drivers in their vehicles wait in line at the food bank.
With the pandemic putting many indoor movie theaters temporarily out of business, drive-ins are making a comeback across the United States. The once-ubiquitous entertainment venues had nearly vanished in recent years, but they are now reemerging as controlled, socially distanced sites where film lovers can safely enjoy movies on a big screen.
Here, a person in a Santa Claus costume gives small gifts to moviegoers watching a screening of Disney’s Frozen at California’s Santa Monica Airport.
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts. Major Bill Hendricks of the Marine Corps Forces Reserve launched the toy collection and distribution program in 1947 in Los Angeles. The effort was so successful that it quickly grew to become a nationwide program, Toys for Tots.
Here, first lady Melania Trump talks with with children as she attends the annual Toys for Tots drive in Washington.
Many houses of worship are gathering food donated by congregants and offering it to local food banks or distributing it directly to the needy. Often, U.S. churches, synagogues and mosques operate their own food banks.
Here, people receive food at a New York City church that holds a weekly distribution event.
U.S. shopping centers are finding safe ways to let children visit Santa during the holidays. Often, Santa is now greeting children from behind a plexiglass screen or inside a transparent igloo. Thanks to computer technology, some Santas are doing virtual visits, too.
Here, Jacky Guerrero, 20, holds her 2-year-old cousin, Panchito Vicente, as they visit Santa Claus (Ray Hamlett) behind plexiglass at a mall in Commerce, California.