Pandemic Christmas: In 2020, not bad is pretty good

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ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — “Do you know what this is?” Jason Officer asked five-year-old Trenton Officer, helping him tear open a package beside the Christmas tree. “They’re penalty flags!”

Football penalty flags, that is — the kind the referees throw — to go along with his new Baltimore Ravens helmet and countless other toys and games for him and his younger brother Braxton.

It was a remarkably unremarkable Christmas at the officer house, and in 2020, that was the point.

Holidays have been different this year for most families, and for the Officers — Jason, his wife Jessica and the boys — that meant not only not seeing some of the family they usually would see, but also how the presents were funded.

In March, Jason and Jessica were both furloughed. The first federal stimulus checks and pandemic unemployment compensation, combined with state and local assistance, more than met their immediate needs.

“So we decided to put some of that away for Christmas gifts for the boys,” Jason Officer said, even though early on, they expected life to be more normal again by the end of the year.

Jessica went back to work early in the pandemic; Jason remains unemployed.

“I was a DJ at bars,” he explained, which — even when they reopened — didn’t have entertainment. Then he took a part-time gig at a church, but soon after, church services too went virtual.

Preparing to open one of the final gifts under the tree, Jason showed Trenton the tag on the outside of the wrapping and said: “It says ‘family.’ It’s for everyone.”

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