Winter break: home edition January 16, 2021 — by Amanda Zhu Being forced to stay at home for winter break brings an unexpected opportunity to bond with family and to attempt new things. Going on vacation during school breaks is overrated. Trust me, I once thought that it would be impossible to enjoy my winter break unless I was hanging out with my family halfway across the world. But turns out, staying at home can be just as fun. My family and I spent most of our time together, especially since my brother had recently come back from college. Every night, we had a movie night where we watched one to two movies of varying genres. We watched countless horror movies alongside “Soul,” “Mud” and others. As we approached the holiday season, my family spent an afternoon together putting up Christmas decorations, from a Christmas tree to a light-up Santa at our front door. Two days before Christmas, we all baked together and made walnut cookies. We did end up using almost all the butter we had in the house, but, if I do say so myself, the end product was worth it. On the night of Christmas Eve, my family and I decorated gingerbread cookies together. We ended up running out of frosting before we could finish decorating all of our cookies, but it was still a really good bonding experience. On New Years, we took a day trip to Santa Cruz and visited the Natural Bridges State Beach with the Monarch Trail and Panther Beach. On our way home, we stopped by Starbucks and bought our dog, Teddy, his first Puppuccino. The day after, we drove to Sanborn County Park and hiked six miles on the trails. My family and I were able to talk for the entire time and had conversations about, well, virtually everything. Later that night, my parents taught my brother and me how to play mahjong, which, surprisingly, is not as hard as it looks. We played for the entire evening, and since that day, we’ve played together a couple more times. Despite not being able to travel or visit our extended family, I was still able to enjoy myself and try many new things. The TLDR: You can enjoy winter break from the comfort of your own home as much as on a beach in the Bahamas.