Thanksgiving break to me is the calm before the storm, also known as finals week. It’s one of my favorite holidays, not just because of the food, but also because I’m a college student who appreciates returning home to be with my family. While others have different traditions for Thanksgiving, I believe that no matter where you are and who you’re with you should follow three guidelines — eat, cherish the festivities and, of course, revive childhood traditions.

The first, and probably the most important thing I did over break, was eat and after that eat some more. It’s Thanksgiving and, if you’re anything like me, the choice of food is far too delicious to pass up even a little appetizer. So what do I recommend? Try everything; even down to the drinks. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your first eggnog of the holiday season. If there’s one thing that I will not accept over the break, it’s the word “diet.” Second, even if you’re culinary-challenged like myself, offer to help cook. Eating the meal that I helped to create this year was extremely rewarding even though I may have overcooked the potatoes.

Embracing every aspect of the holiday, no matter how cheesy or childish it may seem, is my second favorite part of the break. I consider Thanksgiving to be the start of the holiday season, so I’m fully prepared to get festive. Not only do I recommend indulging in a little eggnog, but I also would suggest sitting down and actually enjoying the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade until the end when Santa waves, officially welcoming the Christmas season.

Following the parade tradition, you can then go one of two ways. Either embrace all of the adorableness of The National Dog Show, or, my personal preference, turn the TV on and watch some football. While the Dog Show may seem overdone or a little silly at first, the laughs you share with your family are well worth it. Also, the carefree nature of a dog show is enough to make everyone forget all the work waiting for him or her when they return from break. Football will likewise make you forget the responsibilities you have awaiting you; however, the intensity of the game is certainly not as carefree as watching dogs strut around an arena. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Dog Show and football games are beloved Thanksgiving traditions that will prepare anyone for the upcoming Christmas season.

My last, and probably favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday is reliving and cherishing all of my childhood traditions. For me and my family, this means bringing out all of the classic Christmas movies. Although they may seem poorly animated compared to more recently animated movies like Jim Carrey’s “A Christmas Carol,” which came out in 2009 and “The Polar Express” that came out in 2004, the original Grinch and Rudolph movies, both of which came out in the 1960s, are hard to top. My family and I also must always toast the season with our first cup of eggnog as Santa rolls in during the parade. The first cup of eggnog on Thanksgiving marks the beginning of an eggnog-filled holiday season, which carries until after Christmas. Every Thanksgiving marks the beginning of our Christmas traditions that I look forward to enjoying when I return home after the semester.

While I hold all three of these holiday aspects close to my heart, I am sure every family has their own specific and important traditions. Whatever they are, I recommend cherishing them, as well as the people you enjoy them with. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the holidays, it is that “it’s not what you do, but rather who you enjoy it with.” As a homesick college student, I hold this ideal to heart, and I hope that everyone else will during the upcoming winter break.

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