December was never special for me like it is to many. Growing up, I never understood my family’s silence as the world outside of the walls of my home celebrated the holidays with classic Christmas jingles on repeat on the radio. Festivity was all around us, but we never partook in it.
It’s no surprise that after I started living at Stevenson, I developed an appreciation for the holiday season. As I joined other students and faculty at Dr. Hicks’ house for the annual Hot Cocoa and Caroling event–which I forgot to RSVP to but showed up at anyways despite my shame and embarrassment–I got a taste of the warmth of the community that welcomed me within the first months of my arrival to this new place. The fire crackled as I cupped my hands around the steaming hot chocolate and listened to the caroling voices. For a few hours, I escaped the thought of study hall–along with the heavyweight of my pen sitting upon the pile of essay drafts and half-finished biology worksheets.
I think now, I celebrate Christmas to honor the tradition, but even more so for the atmosphere that the holiday creates. Just like a warm fire or sweet treats, the holiday cheer brings people away from their busy, separate lives to celebrate in each other's company. It's this sentiment that has brought so much value to the holidays for me. This year, during my staycation, I get to be with my entire family–a rare treat for us, especially with this being my last year before I head off to college! I’m extremely glad that I learned to appreciate the time offered by tradition for me to create joyful memories with my family and friends.
Atwood's dorm activity to celebrate a little Christmas cheer: indoor s'mores!
With my family during Christmas break