As we all — students, faculty, and staff alike — prepare to finish up the semester, it’s hard to stay focused when the Christmas and holiday season is around us.
Taking a break from our studies, some of the bloggers have written a little about what they enjoy best about this time of the year.
As a Muslim, I don’t really celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. I celebrate Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, both of which are at different times of the year because the Islamic calendar doesn’t match up with the Gregorian calendar (the one we all use). But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the atmosphere. I love the Christmas songs on the radio, the lights on the houses, the pies, the idea of the mistletoe, the ugly Christmas sweaters. I love all of it, because I just love the joy it brings. And I love the idea of giving gifts. The only people I give gifts to are my closest friends from my hometown: we’ve had a gift rapport since middle school, when I first met them. The best part is seeing the joy on their faces when I surprise them with something they love. That makes everything worth it. It’s one of the many things that makes life worth living.
— Nida Saeed
So, I’m not really a festive person. My sister gets mad at me because on any holiday I make sure to avoid the festive colors, for no particular reason really. Perhaps it’s because of teenage angst and rebellion– young whippersnappers these days with their punk music and black instead of red on the holidays (even though Starbucks had issue with red cups and Satanism last year which I thought was hilarious). Despite that though, I like getting gifts for people. My mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic, so I don’t really care when and what type of gift I get, but I like giving people things. And now that I have a job I can get people whatever I want really, which is pretty cool (despite being Jewish due to maternal lineage, the urge to spend a lot of money on presents for friends and family is overwhelming. I’m doing the whole stereotype wrong, truly a tragedy among my people). So I guess that’s what I like about the holidays, I can be nice to the people I that I think truly deserve it. That and sugar. I’m so into holiday cookies and cakes.
— Becky Kowalski
If you know anything about me, you know that I love to bake. And with this festive season upon us, my normal Diasy perfume is now replaced with the scents of vanilla and cinnamon. My favorite thing about the holidays, besides gift-giving and getting of course, is the endless dessert recipes available. December lets me be more creative than usual, making everything from reindeer pretzel/chocolate treats to homemade cinnamon apple cider to peppermint brownie bark. My kitchen, this time of year, is covered with baking trays, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, and a constant aroma of gingerbread and fresh-baked cookies. And I’m loving every minute of it.
— Fairooz Khondker
Because classes and finals at Rutgers end so late, ever since coming to college, I have felt as though the holidays sneak up on me. I’m always too focused on papers, presentations, and exams to notice how close Christmas actually is. The long-standing tradition in my family is to celebrate with the cousins on my dad’s side the weekend before, then with just my immediate family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and finally with relatives on my mom’s side the weekend after. We always joke that Christmas celebrations never end in my family, and it certainly feels like that. Now that I’m always so stressed during the time leading up to the holidays and miss out on a lot of the preparation, including tree decorating and baking. I appreciate how long my family’s actual celebrations last because it allows me to feel included in one of my favorite times of the year.
With exams and assignments crawling all over as the semester ends, I feel it’s necessary to be connected and to constantly be assured that everyone is in this together, to provide motivation for me and others to do well. I feel like Christmas is that time of year that effectively brings to life the festive and outgoing spirit in many people, even during a tough time like finals. I honestly do not feel as close to my friends here at Rutgers, my friends back at home from high school, or even my family as much as I do come Christmas time, especially because I get to spend time with them in a less stressful setting when I don’t have any assignments due. Ending the semester with the people I feel close to and have known for a long time, and doing activities that I would not have time for otherwise is one of the best parts about Christmas. Christmas is also the perfect time for me to listen to my favorite music, holiday or non-holiday related, and sit down and watch movies, either new ones like Star Wars or my favorite holiday classics like Home Alone or Home Alone 2, all while eating my favorite foods, which of course include cookies and sweet treats. Whoever invented cookies and sweet treats was absolutely a genius.
I love the festive atmosphere that accompanies the Christmas season. As the temperature drops, it starts to feel like Christmas in more ways than one. Twinkling lights start appearing on houses, decorated Christmas trees glimmer through open windows, animatronic miniature Santa’s appear and “dance” on a shelf in the office. Christmas time opens the doors for a slew of themed activities to occur, such as the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, SantaCon bar crawls are planned on successive weekends leading up to Christmas, parks where you can drive/walk through the lighted displays open up, ugly sweater party RSVPs are sent out, and many more. While the cold makes me want to cuddle up under some blankets and watch Netflix all day, all these events are exciting and they motivate me to plan things to do (around finals) during this time of the year. There is this winter village in Bryant park that I want to go to; there’s ice skating and shopping there and it looks like a nice place to spend a few hours. Hopefully I make it out there instead of falling prey to the comforts of my bed!
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is how happy everyone seems to be. There’s something about this atmosphere of good cheer and high spirits that makes me feel like everything will be okay, even if I have papers to finish and finals to study for. I just have to keep reminding myself that as it gets colder, break gets nearer (:
When I was a kid, the holiday season felt like a month long event. Marathon listening to Christmas music, watching a ton of claymation shorts, and going to look at every over-decorated house I could find. Unfortunately, as I got older, there was less time to do these things. I can still marathon listen to music, but there’s barely enough time to watch all my favorite shorts or go on a hunt for Christmas decorations. Yet, for the four days of the month when it’s wall to wall gatherings of family and friends, it still feels the way it did when I was a kid. That’s when I realized that, while I really enjoyed all the trappings and decked halls, my favorite part of the holidays is driving all over Jersey, overeating a ton of great homemade food, and, of course, seeing the relatives I don’t normally see. The older I get, the more I realize that’s what makes the holidays what they are.
I hope this was a nice little study or work break for you.
From all the SASHP Bloggers, Good luck with finals, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Happy Break!!