Hello everyone! HC at UPenn has been churning out articles about the holidays throughout December, but everyone celebrates in their own unique ways. Some of us are with our families this year, while others don't have that privilege. Some of us bake cookies and watch Christmas movies, while others celebrate with traditions from their home countries. Some of us are meeting old friends, while others are planning Zoom parties for the first time.
Here's all the different ways the UPenn HC staff is celebrating the holidays during this crazy, unique year!
"For the holidays, my family celebrates Christmas and always makes a ton of different cookies. I always make my favorite M&M cookies, and my siblings make chocolate crinkle cookies, as well as many others! We also have a habit of leaving our Christmas tree and decorations up for many months after December!"
– Virginia Axline ('21) PR Committee Member
"The holiday season is my favorite time of the year, and I will be home with my close family. Every year, my mom and I make cookies together, and my brother and I watch old Christmas movies. We'll still be doing those traditions this year!"
– Mahaa Ayub ('23) Staff Writer
"I hope to spend the holidays with my family in Long Island, New York. The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year, not only because of the holidays, but because my birthday is in December as well. This means almost an entire month of celebrating with friends and family!"
– Abby Blick ('24) Staff Writer
"I grew up in a huge Italian Catholic family, so the holiday season is normally filled with traditions. This year will be a little different, since we probably won't be able to go to church or celebrate together. But, I look forward to decking the halls and indulging in seven fishes this Christmas Eve with my immediate family at home."
– Lexi Boccuzzi ('24) Staff Writer
*Shoutout to Lexi for suggesting this article idea!*
"I have been home for this semester and have been lucky to spend extra time with my family. We decided to decorate for Christmas early this year, since I have more time to enjoy having the tree up than when I'm at school. We've been enjoying cozy nights watching Hallmark Christmas movies and making cookies!"
– Emily Campbell ('22) Staff Writer
"For this holiday season, I will be spending it at home with my family! I also intend to meet up (safely) with some of my highshool friends who are returning from college, to catch up and celebrate the holidays together!"
– Cheryl Chang ('24) Staff Writer
"I will sadly not be home for Christmas, but I will be with some family. I'll be celebrating Christmas away from home and my family for the first time."
– Minjee Cho ('23)
"The holidays have always been a time of recharging and relaxation, and that’ll be especially true this year. After a stressful, taxing year, I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with my family and am excited for the gift-giving, baking, and holiday fun that always occurs every December."
– Eunice Chong ('24) Associate Editor
"My family and I like to ditch the typical Christmas traditions in exchange for road trips and sightseeing. Unfortunately, things are a little different this year, so we will probably be staying home and watching a lot of Christmas movies!"
– Megan Chui ('23) Staff Writer
"Lots of good food & family time! We have a few toddlers in the fam, so it’s always a good time having them run around!"
– Sylvia Goldfond ('23) Director of Member Relations & Campus Outreach
"I am not sure what I am going to do during this holiday season. Since I grew up in London, my family would travel somewhere that had sun (London is so grey!) Since traveling this year is going to be complicated, I think we are going to stay in NYC and just spend time together, which I love!"
– Zoe Goldstein ('23) Staff Writer
"Every year, my family and I make a huge amount of cookies. We never make less cookies or remove a particular flavor, only add. So every year, we end up with hundreds of cookies that we couldn't possibly eat, but I love making them with my family and sharing with friends."
– Christina Irmen ('21) Staff Writer
"I plan to spend this holiday with my family here in Seoul, South Korea. We typically don't celebreate Christmas as much as we do Chuseok/New Years, so I'm super excited to indulge in all the food and catch up with family members!"
– Izi Lee ('24) Staff Writer
"I'll be spending the holidays at home in New Jersey, catching up on sleep and waiting for my Black Friday purchases to trickle in. I'm excited to spend time with my best friend, who's my neighbor, and read some books for fun."
– Vicki Li ('22) Associate Editor
"I really hope to spend the holidays with my family this year. My mother got COVID-19, so I couldn't go home for Thanksgiving – a sentence I never thought I would write. So I'm honestly just so excited to finally be home and spend time with my family."
– Anna Sophia Lotman ('24) Staff Writer
"My biological family isn't big on holidays, so most of my celebrating is done with the families I've made myself! Friends, coworkers, and loved ones from high school, college, jobs, and interests all gather throughout the holiday season and make memories in the best way possible: together."
– Gabby Maloy ('23) Associate Editor
"Each year, for the holidays, my family hosts a holiday party for us and our extended family. With Covid this year, our party will be via Zoom, but will still include the essentials: food, love and laughter."
– Dylan Massoni ('22) Events Director
"I'll be at home with my family, which I'm super excited for! My friends that are coming back from college (finally!) will also be there, so I'm just excited to see everyone."
– Dhatri Medarametla ('24) Staff Writer
"The holiday season is the best opportunity to spend time with family. My favorite thing to do during the holidays is sit in front of the fireplace with my family and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows."
– Rachel Miller ('24) Staff Writer
"I'll be spending the holidays with my family this year! On Christmas Eve, we always put our presents under the tree, have a Christmas dinner, and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special. The next morning we exchange gifts and enjoy each other's company."
– Melissa Ouhocine ('23) Staff Writer
"I'm excited to bake with my sister for the holiday season! A nearby neighborhood goes all out every year, filling the street with holiday lights and decorations, so I'm hoping to do a drive-by with my friends."
– Jean Paik ('24) Staff Writer
"To me, the holidays are about two things: food and family. I always look forward to cooking and eating with my family during the holiday season! Dancing and singing along to Christmas music and decorating the tree never fail to put me in a festive mood!"
– Jules Pearson ('24) PR Committee Member
"I will be spending the holidays at home with my family! I'm very close with my brother and my sister, and we have a family tradition of dressing up in matching flannel PJs on Christmas morning (the dog included!) and making a huge breakfast instead of the tradtional Christmas dinner."
– Aidah Qureshi ('24) Staff Writer
"I celebrate Christmas; because of my Colombian heritage, we do something called La Novena, where each day of December leading up to Christmas Day there are holiday songs and prayer. When the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, the youngest family member places the Baby Jesus in the Nativity scene. My favorite part for sure has to be my grandma’s Buñuelos!"
– Manuella Romero ('24) PR Committee Member
"I'm going to be spending the holidays with my family, and I'll be meeting up with my high school friends, which I'm excited about! We usually set up and decorate a small tree for the holidays."
– Reeti Shah ('21) Staff Writer
"I'm going to be spending the holidays with my family this year, as well as meeting up with some of my high school friends! I'm super excited for holiday lights and Christmas music!"
– Emily Sherman ('24) Staff Writer
"I am grateful to say that I will be spending the holiday season with my family in Seoul, South Korea. We typically celebrate Christmas and New Year's by cooking traditional Korean dishes and desserts (notably, tteokguk 떡국, or sliced rice cake soup), drinking an excess of hot chocolate, and watching Christmas movies!"
– Mary Shin ('22) Staff Writer
"We don't have too many plans for this holiday season, but we are going to try to go to Florida if that's possible, to see my grandparents and celebrate from a distance. We will also be in NY most of the time, and I'll be able to see some of my high school friends, which will be nice!"
– Carly Spilker ('22) Staff Writer
"I will be spending the holidays with my family! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because I'm always excited to devour some good mashed potatoes and stuffing. Therefore, I'm most looking forward to my family's big, yummy Christmas Eve dinner!"
– Rachael Villari ('22) Staff Writer
"A few days after Thanksgiving, my family and I blast Christmas music, put up our tree, and decorate it. We collect ornaments everywhere we travel, so decorating becomes an opportunity to reminisce about places we’ve visited and past family vacations."
– Olivia Wang ('22) Associate Editor
"I’ll be celebrating the holidays watching movies with my family in DC!"
– Valerie Wang ('24) Social Media Director
"I am spending the holiday season with my family, who it has been great to see since coming home. I am really close with my sister, so it has been really nice spending time with her! I'm looking forward to eating lots of good food and hopefully fixing my sleep schedule."
– Amy Weiner ('24) Staff Writer
"I live in what’s basically the middle of nowhere, so there’s not much to do. I’ve been at home for the semester, but haven’t really been able to interact with my family much. As an only child, it’s just me and my parents – so during the holidays, I’m excited to connect with them further (and get gifts!)"
– Hannah Yusuf ('22) Associate Editor
"Most of my high school friends go to small liberal arts colleges, so they all went back to college this semester. I’m super excited this holiday season to catch up with them when they come back, and also to just relax and hang out some more with my family. There are also little winter markets in NYC which I go to every year, and it looks like they’re still open, so I’m planning on checking those out with family and friends too!"
– Serena Zhang ('23) Associate Editor
"My family doesn't really celebrate the December holidays, but our lights are still up from Diwali! My mom's co-worker makes the best cookies, and my best friends live in my neighborhood, so I hope to spend time with them. Also looking forward to DMing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign this break (as well as sleeping as much as possible!)"
– Harshita Gupta ('22) Senior Editor
"The holidays are my favorite time of year, though my family is pretty low-key in our celebrations. I love holiday decorations, and I hope to resurrect an old tradition with my sister where we watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve night and A Christmas Carol on Christmas morning."
– Melody Kulaprathazhe ('22) Campus Correspondent
Thank you for sticking by us this entire semester. It's been a wild ride, and we can only hope HC at UPenn has brought you a modicum of joy this year. The holidays can be a time of great joy to round out the year, or a time of melancholy reflection. Looking back on the year, with all of its highs and lows, the changes it has wrought on our lives, what stands out the most to me is how we have persevered, resilient and adaptive.
Hopefully, we continue showing the best of what people can do when they put their mind to it. When we see you again, we hope to be publishing more articles about optimism and joy; together and with hard work, we can make 2021 a salve for the wound that 2020 was for many.
From our family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and we'll see you again next year – goodbye!