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The Holidays at Harvard

December brings a mixed bag of emotions for Harvard students. Coming back to school after Thanksgiving break has some of us missing home for the final month of school, while for those who might not have had the chance to go home for break see it as the final stretch before winter break.

And then there’s the bundle of responsibilities that makes up finals period. At Harvard we are lucky enough to have something called reading period, which is the time between the end of classes and the beginning of finals period. Reading period is a time that allows students to spend days focused on preparing for papers and exams that will be due the following week. It’s something I am most thankful for at Harvard because it gives students a lot of time to prepare for assignments that have significant impact on their grades.

But December is also one of my favorite times on campus because it’s a time when the entire school rings in the holiday season. Here are just a few of the traditions Harvard has that help students stay in the festive spirit amidst reading period and finals.

Holiday Dinners: Each house arranges a holiday dinner for all of its residents on a Thursday in December. Thursday nights are usually dedicated to having a meal with the people that are in your house, so the holiday dinner is an extension of that, only fancier. The dining hall staff prepares a special meal for the residents and there are gourmet desserts and appetizers to go along with the meal. It is a tradition for Quincy, the house I live in, to light the Christmas trees we have in our dining hall during holiday dinner.

Formal Season: The holiday season is also a time for houses, clubs, and other organizations at Harvard to organize an end of the semester formal to celebrate the semester and the season. This year, my favorite formal I went to was at the House of Blues in Boston and had five houses host their dance their. It was a cool way to come together as a Harvard community and have a lot of fun for a night. Sometimes, instead of formals, some students host ugly sweater parties, which are always a hit with people as well.
 

Trips into Boston: As much as Harvard has great options for things to do inside to celebrate the holidays, Boston has great decorations and even an ice skating rink to get people into the spirit. I really like going downtown and walking through Boston Common or Faneuil Hall when everything is decorated in lights. It’s a good study break too!

So even though people may fear the colder weather that ring in the Boston winter, it really is a great time to be on campus and celebrating the end of the semester. 

About the author

Hi there! My name is Ariel Smolik-Valles and I’m a senior at the College, originally from Des Plaines, Illinois, which is right outside of Chicago (best city in the world, sorry Boston). On campus... View full profile

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