The holiday season is a time that brings people together. Between spending time with family, exchanging gifts with friends or exploring a familiar town for fun holiday staples, there is no shortage of exciting things to do to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Many people consider the time they spend with their families to be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things about the holidays. Decorating, eating home-cooked meals and wrapping presents can be a welcome change from the hustle and bustle from the busy semester. Molly Palmer, a first-year from Chapel Hill, says that her favorite thing to do with her family is bake. “My family is all from Ohio, so we make Buckeyes every year. The recipe is just powdered sugar, peanut butter, and semisweet chocolate, so they’re basically like mini Reese’s Cups, but better.” The peanut butter and powdered sugar mixture is rolled into little balls which are then dipped halfway in the melted chocolate. The end result resembles the nut of a buckeye tree.
Celebrating and unwinding with friends is also fun and necessary after the stress from the previous semester. Daisha Bunn, a junior, says that she started a new tradition with her friends last year to bring some of the holiday spirit to Salem. “On the first day back from Thanksgiving break, I left a bag with a gift at all my friends’ doors until we went home for winter break,” she says. “I was running around from Strong to South to Bahnson, just leaving all these different kinds of gifts…It was like the twelve days of Christmas and I was the elf!” New traditions, especially those started as a way to show love and appreciation for friends, can be the most cherished.
Holidays in hometowns also have hidden treasures. For Peyton Corder, hometown traditions are her favorite. “I’m from Charleston, South Carolina, and we have one of the largest light festivals ever,” she says. “They’ve estimated that there’s about two million lights up every year, and some of the displays are left up all year around because they’re so complex.” She and her parents drive through the light shows every year, and every year it’s what makes things feel like the holidays. She says that there is also a “Santa’s Village” with twenty-foot sand sculptures that use over fifty tons of sand. “They’re super-elaborate. The builders start working on them during November and nobody is allowed to touch them, ever.”
Whether you like to bake, catch up with friends, take in your town’s decorations or just spend time with family members, take a few moments to slow down during this holiday season. Appreciate old traditions–or start new ones–and give yourself a rest after several hectic months. Quality time with the people you cherish most is what creates memories and makes the festivities fun. Happy holidays!