With the holiday season upon us and winter break just around the corner, we asked some of our writers at The Daily Campus what their favorite part of the holiday season is.
Courtney Gavitt – Staff Writer
I celebrate Christmas, so December means two things: shopping for gifts and wrapping them. It’s a fun time of year for me because I’m more or less in charge of Christmas for my family. Everyone in my family consults me for advice on what to get each other, and since I seem to be the only one in my family good at wrapping presents, I then get put in charge of wrapping all the gifts I helped pick out. It’s a lot of work, and I always joke about how annoying it is, but secretly I love it. One of my favorite things to do is to make hot chocolate, put on a playlist of Christmas songs or a Christmas movie and then wrap a bunch of gifts with my brother and my mom. I always choose wrapping paper specifically for a gift’s recipient, and then I fancy it up with cute bows and ribbons. It really represents the seasonable vibe for me, and it’s always fun when the process dissolves into laughter about how terribly someone wrapped a weirdly-shaped gift.
Alex Houdeshell – Staff Writer
Every single year, sometime around Thanksgiving, my mom will say something along the lines of “This year, I’m only going to make five kinds of Christmas cookies.” And every single year it’s a total lie. My household takes our Christmas cookies very seriously. We’re not huge bakers, and most of the time dinner comes out of some sort of box, so using the oven isn’t something we take lightly. But it’s constantly chugging away in December. Normally the process starts when my mom starts making her list. Maybe it starts with five kinds of cookies, but slowly it grows and grows. Spritz cookies, buckeyes, candy cane cookies, chocolate peanut butter cookies, gingerbread cookies, pretzel cookies, shortbread cookies, M&M cookies, the cookies with the chocolate kiss in the middle, chocolate sugar cookies and of course, the crown jewel, frosted sugar cookies. Some of the cookies we wrap up nicely and give away. Some we freeze. Some are always sitting out on our cookie tree, lovingly protected with plastic wrap, waiting for me to come along and see them and think, “Sure, I can have one more.” I’ll then proceed to eat five or ten or a million. And they are every single reason I love Christmas.
Daniel Cohn – Campus Correspondent
In 1996, my mom decided to showcase some of her Indonesian handcrafts and artwork around our home (I wasn’t in the picture yet) and invited dozens of our friends and family to pass through—either to look at the wonderful artwork, or to buy exotic gifts for their loved ones. 10 years later, the showcase became a show, forcing my parents to move it from our humble abode to a pop-up space in Northwest Philadelphia, titled “From Bali to Bala.” Bali, being the island in Indonesia with which my family is most connected (I visited for the eighth time this past spring), and Bala being short for “Bala Cynwyd” the western Philadelphia suburb I lived in from years zero through 18. It’s now 2018, and “From Bali to Bala” is in its 23rd holiday season. The show opened up in the first week of November, and it’ll run through the last days of December. For me growing up, the show was as tied to the holidays as a Hanukkah menorah or a Christmas tree. It represents all the things that make the holidays special to me: togetherness, spirit and family. Since I’ve been at college, I haven’t been able to be there for much of the show, only catching glimpses through the screen of my phone. That’ll change soon. The instant I put down the pencil next Friday after my last final, my mind will fixate on the one thing that makes the holidays unique to me: my mom’s Indonesian handcrafts show.
Sarah Baksh – Campus Correspondent
Like clockwork, the first weekend of December means picking out our tree. While my dad and I select our balsam fir, my mom irons the tree skirt at home and rearranges the living room to accommodate our new friend. All our ornaments have been collected long before I was born, and each year we add a couple more to the pile. Some have our names on them, specifically one with three moose that represent my parents and me. In our basement, my old toy box houses the decorations during the other months of the year. This year we’ve decided to purchase monogrammed stockings for our mantle (yes, we’re THAT family). We decorate the tree while we listen to a Christmas playlist and munch away on treats. Between then and Christmas, we buy presents, decorate the house and make the dinner menu for Christmas Day. On the days leading up to Christmas Eve, we normally scramble to make last-minute purchases and grocery store trips. Lastly, on Christmas Day, we spend the day making food, opening presents and watching “Home Alone,” “Love Actually” and “The Holiday” with pie and spiced cider.