How to Make the Joy of the Holiday Season Last a Little Longer

Just like that, the fall semester is over and holiday break is finally here! Time to pack up, head home, and get ready for holiday parties and family reunions and—oh, wait. Right. Our holiday season festivities have been dampened by the constraints of Zoom calls and stress from the global pandemic, I almost forgot. On top of that, the madness of finals week this semester has severely cut into my gift-wrapping and cookie-decorating time, and now the holidays are here and I’m far from emotionally ready. I haven’t even had the chance to partake in my annual ritual of binge-watching iconic Christmas classics (Elf as number one, obviously)! 

 

I spent the majority of the morning of December 23rd moping over the traditions I didn’t get to enjoy this season: no neighborhood Christmas party, no travel, and no job to finance the dozens of gift ideas I had for my friends and family. However, as I thought about it further, I had a Mr. Grinch moment in that I realized this funky holiday season—without the activities or company we’re so used to enjoying—actually has its perks. We’ve all heard each other talk about how our days seem to blend together, right? That work-life balance on Zoom is more difficult, that our inability to go out, perhaps, has relaxed the social construct of weeks versus weekends? The pandemic has granted us the gift, believe it or not, of a more flexible concept of time. Therefore, the way I see it, January 2nd no longer has to mark the end of holiday cheer. I know I'll still have some festive energy in my system in the new year, so let us take advantage of our more flexible lifestyles and extend some of the holiday festivities we may have missed out on this month into 2021! 

 

Sound like wishful thinking? Maybe. Below are some ideas to convince you: 

 

Enjoy the nostalgia of homemade treats anytime. 

Now that online classes eliminate the need for a commute, it’ll be easy to bake your favorite cookies or whip up your go-to hot chocolate recipe to push you through a long lecture. So beats the lukewarm Starbucks holiday drinks I used to bring into in-person classes. 

 

Make your workspace extra cozy and bright.

Ever been able to bring twinkle lights and a heated blanket to class? Didn’t think so. And if you celebrate Christmas but didn’t have much time to decorate (like me), this is your moment! Christmas lights = winter lights. 

 

Continue holiday movie binge-watching on your time. 

Get friends or family together on Zoom or FaceTime and use the Netflix Party extension to watch those holiday movies that finals week didn't allow the time for! Now that a lot of us aren’t doing much this winter break, finding a convenient time to watch should be much easier. My friends and I had a lot of fun with Zoom movie nights in the early days of the pandemic, and I'm looking forward to more to keep myself entertained this winter break and into next semester. No more late-night ventures to friends’ apartments in the cold for me—at least not for now!

 

Wear your holiday pajamas whenever you want! 

Or, the pajama bottoms at least. I will absolutely be wearing my sweatpants and reindeer slippers to Zoom classes throughout the colder months...no one has to know!

 

These festive ideas clearly cannot compare to spending the holidays with the people we love, but I'll take any tidbit of joy I can get after this rollercoaster of a semester. And one last thing: though gratitude may not always come in the form of gifts this holiday season, let’s continue to show our appreciation for one another as we enter into a new year of more uncertainty than ever. Creating meaningful connections online is hard, but we’re doing it anyway and that’s certainly something to celebrate.

 

Stay safe, and enjoy your (prolonged!) holiday season.