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It’s finally the holidays! That means cinnamon scented candles, gift shopping, glitter and lights everywhere! One of my favorite things about this time of year is family traditions! Here is a list of some of my favorite traditions.

  1. Staying up late Christmas Eve and watching movie marathons such as the Harry Potter series, Gone With the Wind, and Lord of the Rings
  2. Helping my mom bake dozens of cookies!
  3. Driving around neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights.
  4. Decorating the tree with all the past childhood ornaments
  5. My newest tradition is going to the zoo and looking at all the lights and seeing the penguins!

Happy Holidays! What are some of your favorite traditions around the holidays?


Give Thanks.

by Jess on November 17, 2016

in Uncategorized

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday (Halloween trumps all). I can be inclined to negativity, but something about this time of year seems to bring out all of the positive energy I have. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly thinking about the delicious food that I get to consume at the end of the month, or maybe it’s because Thanksgiving break always marks the end of yet another semester. Whatever the reasoning, I tend to find myself focusing more on the positive aspects of my life (which are many) than the negative (which are the epitome of first-world problems, and few).

My family has a few Thanksgiving traditions. We always put the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on the television as we put the finishing touches on our afternoon meal. After we’ve eaten our delicious meal and finished the dishes, we pick a Christmas movie to watch – our favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf. It’s always warm and cozy in the house, everyone curled up with blankets and hot chocolate or cider, and it’s one of the happiest times of the year for me.

So, what am I most thankful for now? My fantastic friends. My health. My loving family. The opportunity that I’ve had to move to St. Louis and further my education while experiencing a different part of the country. The friendships that I made while working in Walt Disney World at the beginning of the year, and the ability to visit them as often as I do. I’m thankful that I can afford food and that I have shelter, because it’s really around this time of year that I realize how many people don’t have those luxuries. On a cheesier note, I’m thankful for coffee (for saving my life during every single semester of school ever).

What are you guys thankful for? I’m definitely SUPER grateful that Thanksgiving break is next week – I need my mom’s homecooked food and my own bed. I hope you all have a fantastic break – eat all the turkey and pumpkin pie you can handle!



Alumni Posts


by Alumni Posts on December 10, 2013

in Extracurricular

This week, I was going to talk about finals and give you guys some of my best tips on how to master them.  I was going to say that it’s better to study a little every day instead of cramming, to organize your notes into main ideas, to highlight main concepts, to give your brain a break every once in a while, to read to yourself aloud so you can both see and hear the information…

But then we had two snow days.  And I’ve been Christmas shopping and watching movies and thinking about sledding.  And, honestly, I’m sick of school by now.  So instead of thinking about how I should be studying, I am going to ask you about your holiday traditions.  In my family, we don’t have very many traditions.  We celebrate Christmas, but because my parents are divorced, we trade off Christmas Eve and Christmas between the two of them.  Every other year we are in a different place, and we haven’t established many traditions ourselves.

We do have one tradition that is fairly regular each year.  The weekend after Christmas, usually around New Year’s Eve, my brothers, mom, stepdad and I drive up to the far edge of Iowa to visit my mother’s side of the family.  We stay at my grandparents’ farmhouse once we arrive (after eight long hours in the car) and my aunts, uncles and cousins arrive the next day.  My grandparents live near a tiny town in western Iowa; the town consists of a hardware store, a Casey’s gas station, and a local restaurant.

Needless to say, there isn’t much to do there but visit with family.   When I was little, my cousins and I would play while the grown-ups talked about how their lives had been for the past year.  We’d sneak into the huge upstairs coat closet and play school or house.  With several older cousins, I always had to be the baby or student; I remember being given stickers for completing fabricated homework sheets.  I also remember stomping into the living room because I was tired of those homework sheets.  Once, I was allowed to play truth or dare with my older girl cousins.  While I felt accepted and important for being permitted to participate, my five-year-old life wasn’t romantic enough to provide much interest.

Although we are older now, our traditions are still about spending time together.  We eat a Christmas dinner together and open presents, like most people do.  Instead of buying gifts for everyone (and becoming very broke) we have a gift exchange. Typically, this includes a game involving choosing presents and stealing them from each other.  We also play card games together.  Or, I watch everyone play card games, keeping a close eye on my grandpa (a major cheater).  My attention span is not long enough to last through a game of cards, but I still like to be with everyone.

Even though I have a few traditions for the holidays, we are always with family.  I am grateful that I have people to go home to and be with for Christmas; not everyone has that luxury.   Making special traditions is something I look forward to doing with my future family.  Do you have any favorite traditions in your family?


Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.