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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As we gear up to head home after finals this semester, we’re looking forward to partaking in traditions that our families have kept up for decades. Here are some of our favorite winter traditions: 

“Making a list, checking it twice” is not just a Christmas song lyric for me, it’s my all-defining approach to the holiday season. The holiday season can be stressful, and lists and spreadsheets are my favorite way to stay on top of everything. I like to make a spreadsheet for my gift shopping list, with every person, gift, and online shopping link in one place. My love for spreadsheets and lists has also seeped into my holiday baking—I’ve planned out all the cookies I’ll make with active time and quantity listed out, as well as an epic grocery list that features 20 sticks of butter. It’s funny to think that making lists and spreadsheets is one of my favorite winter traditions, but there’s just something about the organization of it all that makes me excited for the holidays. 

-Kendall Foley ‘24

One of the highlights of my holiday season is the gingerbread house decorating tradition that I have with three other families at home. There’s nine of us kids total, and ever since we were little, we have gotten together a couple nights before Christmas and all decorated a gingerbread house. I’m so grateful that we’ve done it for over ten years now, even as we’ve gotten older and gone off to college. And as we’ve grown up, we’ve taken some creative liberties with our gingerbread houses, including one kid making a gingerbread strip club with a candy cane stripper pole, and some of us just bashing in the gingerbread roof and filling the house with as much frosting and candy as possible. I love getting to see these friends every year and catch up, and the tradition lets us feel like kids again. 

-Maria Sell ‘23 

As an only child, my parents always want to keep me as little as possible, never wanting to give up the magic of Santa Claus or little elves as I’ve gotten older and moved off to college. One tradition that they have kept up since I was a toddler is the advent calendar. The Gen Z version of Elf on the Shelf, advent calendars feature little boxes, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas on the 25th. So, every December morning, for as long as I can remember, I would clamber down the stairs, ecstatic to see what that day’s present was, whether it was a one-dollar bill or a box of Tic Tacs. This year, however, I am spending my first December away from home while I’m off at college, and I was about ready to give up this tradition, which only gets sillier as I get older. To my surprise, as I arrived back at school after Thanksgiving break, my mom handed me a bag of wrapped little presents, labeled numbers one through twenty. I guess my parents weren’t quite ready to give up on the tradition just yet. 

-Lara Beckius ‘24

Maria Sell

Conn Coll '23

Maria (she/her/hers) is a junior at Connecticut College studying American Studies and Sociology and is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves getting to play on the Women's Water Polo Team with her teammates here and enjoys reading, baking, and coaching water polo outside of school!
Lara is a sophomore at Connecticut College, where she is pursuing a double major in environmental studies and economics with a minor in dance. Her interests include choreography, sustainability, the performing arts, and conservation.
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