By The Editorial Board
Stress, fun and family time are in no short supply during the holidays. There are a lot of things to look forward to with a long winter break — forgetting about school, seeing family, having time to rest and celebrating holidays with people you love. Although there are a lot of things to be excited about, there can be some discomfort with going home for nearly a month.
It can be easy to retreat into relaxing alone and avoiding family, but there are small and thoughtful ways to combat some hermit-like tendencies we may pick up for break. Be purposeful with your time, and be intentional with showing your family gratitude. Members of the Editorial Board have compiled their pointers on how to show love over the holiday season.
1. Go Christmas shopping for your family and wrap all of their gifts before you go home for break. Don’t raid your mom’s closet for wrapping paper and ribbon. Show the intentionality and maturity to buy the supplies, do it yourself and come home ready to celebrate.
2. Lean into conversations. I know the constant “are you dating anyone?” and “how are job/school/internship applications going?” questions can be stressful and occasionally even irritating, but your family just wants to stay updated on your life. Embrace the chats at the Christmas table, the New Year’s gathering and every random night in between!
3. Get up early and socialize. Don’t stay locked in your bedroom until noon scrolling on TikTok or Instagram Reels. If you’re feeling extra generous, go out and pick up donuts or coffee for your family before they wake up.
4. Reach out to your family members and friends before you head home for break and let them know you’re excited to see them again. Make plans for a fun day with your hometown best friend or send a quick text to your brother or sister saying how pumped you are to go ice skating, bake Christmas cookies and spend time together.
5. Bring up fond or funny memories of holidays past. Talking about moments that you consider special or memorable shows those you are remembering that they are special to you.
6. Know your loved ones’ love languages. Some people appreciate a hug more than quality time, some quality time more than a helping hand and some a helping hand more than a material gift. Take time to figure out what will mean the most to those you care about, and express your love to them in that way.
7. Seek out new traditions! This season, it’s easy to fall back into home routines, but challenge yourself to make time for new traditions. That means finding activities wherever you may be traveling for break and making an effort to bring together your family or friends for the gift of an experience. Some of the best festive events that are easy to find in any city are outdoor skating rinks, Christmas markets and classic holiday ballets like “The Nutcracker.”
8. Holiday baking is one of my favorite ways to show love during the season. I’m partial to sugar cookies, molasses cookies and pumpkin bread, but you can pull out any old family recipe. Anything that’s baked with love and consideration tastes better than store-bought sweets, so dust off a cookbook and ask the patron saint of holiday cookies, Alton Brown, to guide you.
9. Take pride in gift-wrapping! This is something that’s overlooked, but a beautifully wrapped gift shows that you went the extra mile to put in effort and make your gifts look as good on the outside as they are on the inside. For the gift-wrapping-challenged, it’s easy to learn how to improve those folding and taping skills with a simple YouTube tutorial, bringing all of your gifts up to the next level.
10. Genuinely apologize to your parents for that one time you were a little snot years ago, and show appreciation to them.
11. Work into conversation one way you admire your sibling.
12. Find something you can start with a parent or sibling (a show, a book, a podcast, etc.) so when you’re apart, you’ll always have something to talk about.
13. Buy your family gifts. Now that we are adults, it’s important to not steal the show on Christmas morning. Showing your gratitude with a small gift (or more) can make your family members feel loved and appreciated while also making you feel like you contributed to the Christmas cheer.
14. Get involved in your family’s favorite activities over break. Go on a hike with your parents, attend your little brother’s soccer game or even just play video games with your siblings for a minute. They have missed you so much this semester, and now is the time to spend quality time with them while you are home. The little things go a long way.
15. Don’t forget basic manners! I know this time is when you want to sit back and relax, but you are also a guest in your parents’ house. Say “please” and “thank you,” and help out around the house. These little acts of kindness show maturity and are appreciated.
16. Cards are important! Whether you put in the effort to make a handmade card or purchase one at the store, the thought behind it is what counts. Take the time to write a sincere message; some gifts won’t last forever, but a nice card will.
17. Show yourself off a bit and talk about your experience at Baylor. Now, don’t be egotistical, but your family and friends are there to support you and want to know about your highs and lows while away. Engage with your family and tell them you appreciate their support by letting them know you are enjoying your time in college and also trying your best.
18. Act like you are enjoying family traditions around the holidays. Look, I’m really not a holiday cheermeister, and I despise decorating a Christmas tree each year. It takes forever and is just something else to tear down before the new year. But I also understand just how important the tradition is to my family. So instead of throwing a fit, I will power through — and so can you, with whatever less-than-exciting activities surround the holidays.
19. Make an effort to listen to your loved ones over break. It can be easy to fall into a routine of relaxing and talking about yourself, which is totally OK, but try to be a listening ear to those you don’t normally see in your day-to-day college life. Your family members have a lot of stories and experiences to share, if you care to ask.
20. Spend quality time with the people you’re with for the holidays. The little things can be rewarding and meaningful. For example, drink coffee with your parents, ask an old high school friend to get lunch, plan a family movie or game night and read a book someone recommends to you.
21. Call someone you aren’t spending the break with. If there’s a family member who lives far away or a friend you normally don’t see during the holidays, give them a call and let them know you’re thinking of them. Sometimes calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a while can be intimidating and uncomfortable, but the small action of reaching out via text or call can bring a little more light to their holiday season.