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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

A guide to Christmas: making the most out of the best holiday

Amy Luo
My favorite activities to celebrate the holiday season!

As part of celebrating arguably the most enjoyable holiday, Christmas’s small traditions and activities deserve to be better appreciated — maybe some people think it’s childish to rewatch “The Polar Express” for the 10th time, but I find that indulging in quiet moments like these is never a waste of time. Instead of being overshadowed by the material joy of receiving gifts and the stress of finals week, activities like decorating the Christmas tree should be loved just as much as the presents underneath it. To me, the ultimate holiday starts in November and lasts until New Year’s Eve. 

One of my favorite ways to get into the festive mood is by buying scented candles from brands like Yankee Candle: with holiday-themed scents like Sugar Plum, Merry Berry and Christmas Cookie, the offerings are endless. Filling my room with the aroma of Christmas, they remind me of the upcoming holiday events as I’m hugged with memories of being wrapped in blankets during winter break. 

In addition to candles, holiday drinks can make or break your holiday season. In particular, eggnog is the biggest Christmas red flag. Why drink thick custard that has to be pasteurized to be safe to drink when you could be sipping hot cocoa with mini marshmallows in a warm mug instead? Just thinking about browsing fragrant drinks from the Starbucks winter menu makes me look forward to the holidays; my go-to orders are the gingerbread oat milk chai and the sugar cookie almond milk latte, both of which are best enjoyed with a snowman sugar cookie.

To entertain yourself as you sip your toasty drink, consider the classic Christmas activity: decorating gingerbread houses. Lining rooftops with red peppermint shingles, piping sweet, white frosting along the walls and adorning streets of gingerbread with sprinkles reminds me of past trips to Lake Tahoe and takes me back to my childhood. If gingerbread is not your favorite coffee snack, you can always swap it with Pillsbury Cookie Dough, which is offered in a variety of shapes including snowmen, Christmas trees and even gingerbread men. 

Of course, decorating a Christmas tree is also a must. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a plastic one from your attic or one that your family chopped down at Cozzolino’s Christmas Trees in Half Moon Bay together. Something about wrapping the tree’s boughs in fairy lights and handmade ornaments you crafted in second grade cheers everyone up in time for the upcoming holidays.

Most important of all, the very best part of Christmas is picking out gifts for my favorite people; whether it be for my best friends, family, or even myself, browsing on Etsy, Amazon and Pinterest for cute plushies and planners for the new year never fails to relieve my stress in the midst of cramming for finals. Handing someone a present and seeing their eyes light up as they tear apart the wrapping is the highlight of finals week.

At last, once you’ve finished your finals, the best way to relax and await Christmas’s arrival is to snuggle up with any type of Christmas media: TV shows, ballets and movies all suffice. I recommend watching Christmas-themed TV episodes from shows like “Friends,” performances of “The Nutcracker” in San Francisco or festive and entertaining movies such as “Elf” and “Home Alone.” 

Whichever method you choose to make the most out of this Christmas season, you’ll be happiest when you cherish even the smallest moments and treasure the holiday while it lasts.

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