No more finals. No more bullshit chapter meetings. No more “Who punched a hole in the wall?!” for an entire month. Nothing. You’re free to pack up your thrice worn dirty laundry, overused Xbox, excess alcohol and other belongings, make the journey home and start your descent into the bowels of Blackout City. There are no more responsibilities until the new year. Although the weather may be colder and the break might be shorter, winter break is better than summer break on so many levels.
When it comes to breaks in college, there are two options: stay in your college town or head home. For winter break, you almost have to return home at some point. It’s the holidays. Your family hasn’t seen you in months and that extra $100 your dad slips you at the end of the visit for “overhead” helps out.
Every time you return home you have a chance to assert your dominance without anyone thinking anything of it. Oh, you came home at 3 a.m. blackout drunk again? “It’s cool. You’re in college,” the parents say. Oh, you got thrown out of the casino for drunkenly ranting about how the new blackjack dealer is figuratively bending you over and defiling you in the middle of a public place? “It’s cool. At least you’re not in jail,” your parents say. Oh, you like to drink an Irish coffee at 8 a.m. in only your socks while reading the paper because it helps ease the hangover and you like the way the breeze feels? “It’s cool. You’re just taking after your dad,” your mom says. Basically, as long as you have a pulse and put the slightest bit of face time in with the parents, regardless of your state of intoxication, they’re happy.
The same rules don’t apply when you head home for summer break. For starters, I would never recommend going back home for the summer. Ever. Summer break is three times longer and is best spent at an off-campus pool. While your parents might blow off these charades for a few weeks in the winter, you never get the same treatment over the longer summer break. Try ordering Domino’s at 3 a.m. every Wednesday for three months straight. It turns from “ha ha ha” to “ha ha awww, that’s sad” after week four.
Winter break is long enough to recharge from a strenuous semester, but short enough to where you’re not expected to have anything on your schedule aside from drinking. Yeah, you could pick up shifts at the pool you used lifeguard for, but you’re not really in that for the money. Picking up shifts from your summer job is the equivalent of sending a “you up?” text. You get a response, great. You don’t, oh well. You make it the whole month without getting caught for doing blow in the lifeguard break room, great. You don’t and get fired, oh well.
There’s a bit more pressure over the summer, though. With three months to kill, there’s a bevy of classes, internship opportunities, and summer jobs to take up so you can keep pace with the rest of the world. In the summer, you have to try and adult every now and then. In the winter, there are no expectations for you to act like an adult.
You wake up. There’s snow on the ground and a fire in the fireplace. It’s time to head to the kitchen, grab the Bailey’s, and brew your first cup of coffee for the day because there’s a marathon of Christmas specials on and you can’t not watch those Home Alone burglars get owned by an eight-year-old. The holidays might be the best part of winter break. Everyone is in a good mood and it’s the first time you can really carve out what kind of holiday drunk you’re going to be for years to come. Are you going to be the family man type who helps with gift wrapping and putting up the Christmas lights with a Baileys break every now and then? Or are you going to lay the cards out on the table and go steady with the eggnog and peppermint schnapps from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.? A little combo of both? If shots of Rumplemintz doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit then I don’t know what will.
It’s time to embrace winter break properly. Spend time with family, run amok through the city you’re no longer a resident of, and drink festively for 30 days straight. ‘Tis the season for ugly sweaters and laced eggnog. Embrace it..