Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving break have come and gone, leaving in their wake a mountain-load of homework, straggling midterms for an unlucky majority, and the impending misery of finals. Joy upon all joys. Luckily, however — or perhaps necessarily in terms of everyone keeping a hold on sanity — the end of Thanksgiving also means the official beginning of the Christmas season!
Despite the train-wreck of cramming, frustration and stress that they inevitably bring, the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are always my favorite time of year — mainly because there’s a ton of amazing things that only really come around during the Christmas season. Though the complete list probably numbers into the hundreds, I just want to share a few of the things that I love most about the holidays:
1. Christmas Music
Finally, finally is it socially acceptable to blast “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from every iPod, laptop and radio in the vicinity. I shamelessly dusted off my Christmas playlist first thing Friday morning, and I can honestly say that I’ve listened to nothing else since.
2. Decorating Everything
Pull out the lights and mini-trees, everyone. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not letting the fact that I still live in a dorm room impede my decorating. It’s almost as if Christmas doesn’t become fully real until there are garlands and twinkling light strands everywhere. One of my favorite holiday memories it being tucked into the backseat with my blankets and my siblings and driving through surrounding neighborhoods to look at all the decked-out houses.
3. “The Nutcracker”
Call it a ballerina thing, but Christmas is basically interchangeable with “Nutcracker” in my mind. This year marks the second time that I haven’t performed in it since I was seven years old, and the second time that the holiday just hasn’t felt quite the same. I doubt I’ll be done with finals in time to see it live, but there’s a couple of really excellent recorded versions that I like to return to time and again. If you’ve never seen it performed, though, and you have the chance to go, I definitely recommend doing so. You don’t need to be a ballet enthusiast to get swept up in the magic of it.
4. Seasonal Movies
Speaking of recordings, I’ve got a list a mile long of all the movies that I absolutely have to watch now that it’s not frowned upon to do so. Love Actually, for starters, because it’s sweet and charming and hands-down one of the best movies ever. Also, what kid didn’t wish he was Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone at least once? Then there’s A Christmas Carol and The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen at his finest) and It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf… Yep, way too much movie-watching, aka procrastinating, is soon to be in the works.
5. Food, Food, Food
Eggnog, cookies, pumpkin pie, cider — seriously, who needs anything more? Holiday food is the best! I got so preemptively pumped that I bought my first box of candy canes a week before Thanksgiving. And I’ve been kind of living off of Starbucks’ Carmel Apple Ciders ever since they put up their holiday menu. Also, many baking plans have already been set in motion – most of which I already know will involve me staying clear of the oven (for everyone’s sake, really) and sneaking most of the frosting from the bowl. Honestly, at this point, it’s all I can do to brace myself for what will most certainly be the weight gain of the century.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, could ever make this California girl more excited than seeing snow! Hopefully this time around we’ll get more than the sad little half-inch that showed up during Intersession last year.
7. Going Home
As wonderful as all the food and music and decorations are, the thing that I’m most looking forward to this Christmas season is getting to go back home. After over nine months in Baltimore, there is nothing I want more than to see my family, steal my room back from my little sister, and fall off a chair trying to get the star to stay on the top of our tree.
These seven staples are what get me excited for the holiday season, but the list is far from complete.