Survival guide to parents, holidays

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It seems like just yesterday that we were starting the semester with all new courses and catching up our roommates on the amazing summer vacation we had just had. But in case you haven’t been outside lately, it’s winter.

With winter blowing in and finals almost over, most students are probably more than ready for the upcoming holiday break. For some, winter break is a joyful and festive time to spend with family, especially parents, like a stereotypical holiday movie filled with dramatic family gatherings and giant steaming piles of home-cooked mashed potatoes and old-fashioned dinner rolls. But, in some cases, returning home isn’t all that exciting. Whether you are dealing with overzealous family members or just trying to survive the smothering, here are some things to keep in mind.

Be grateful for your parents and loved ones. Winter break is the time truly to appreciate the people in your life and show your gratitude for everything they do for you, like making a home-cooked meal or doing your laundry. These gestures may be simple, but when you live away from home it’s nice not to have to do these things yourself for a while. For the students who remain on campus, feel free to call home as often as you can. Now that your week is freed up, you can tell your mom about all you have been doing during the semester. And for those who never left home, going out with friends or some relatives can be the perfect escape you and your parents may need.

Also, remember to compromise while home on break. Your parents understand you have friends and that you want to spend time with them while everyone is in town, but it’s important to spend an equal amount of time with your family. Explain to your friends that spending time with your family is just as important as hanging out with them. They’ll understand. Try to go out in a group, that way you can see multiple people at once. Just by managing the limited time we all get, your parents will notice and appreciate your gesture.

Also don’t forget to let your parents parent you a little. Living away from home, you get the sweet taste of freedom. So returning home can result in a power struggle. At first, you may feel annoyed when your mom calls you at midnight asking about your whereabouts, especially when you’ve been keeping your own schedule all semester. To keep the peace and ensure domestic tranquility, try helping around the house. Doing a load of laundry or some dishes may be all it takes to keep the momma bear at bay.

With the holidays zooming in, it’s safe to say that the once a year family gathering will be happening. These gatherings can be quite difficult and filled with those dreadful questions you have been avoiding all semester such as, “how was school?” or “what were your grades this semester?” It’s always a good idea to come ready with answers unless you want to suffer those awkward pauses and glances.

Going home for break doesn’t have to be a burden or a chore. It should be fun. You get showered with love and support not only from your parents, but also your siblings, if you have any. For some students, school is a few hours away and the fact that they’re not only leaving their parents behind, but possibly siblings as well can sometimes be overlooked. To make the break enjoyable try pitching some common interests that you all can do together. Go get a cup of coffee or see a movie. If you enjoy what you are doing with the ones you love, the holidays will be much more delightful and engaging.

Winter break is more than just spending time with your friends; it’s about spending time with your family before you return for the spring semester. It’s a time to listen to those memorable lectures from your mom about focusing on school rather than boys and those silly taunts from your  siblings. Surviving the family while on break can be pleasant and enjoyable. So while you’re making the trip home, or if you have never left, remember to have fun.

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