This is crunch time, and not only in terms of leaves. But in the midst of all our study groups, late night paper writing, and general lack of sleep that accompanies the end of semester stress, are the holidays! It’s easy to see how all the cheer disappears when all we can think about are grades and deadlines. Being away from our families at college doesn’t help either since home is where the majority of the merriment builds. Don’t wait for the holidays to hit you when you go home, seek it out here in the city so you can enjoy the marathon of holidays properly.
Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holidays, but before you get too far into thinking about the deals you’ll score on Black Friday, take a second to think about what the holiday means. No, I don’t mean the textbook facts, I mean the “thanks” part. Too often we forget how lucky we are to have even the smallest things, but Thanksgiving is the perfect nudge of a reminder to appreciate those around us.
There is no better way to say “thank you” and simultaneously delve into the holiday spirit than by doing a little service. Now I know we’re all busy, but even one hour can give you the satisfaction you seek of doing something selfless this season and help someone at the same time.
Here are some organizations that will say “thank you” to you for any kind of help: Glide will serve 5,000 meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and for the animal lovers, SF SPCA Macy’s Holiday Windows is the campaign to adopt out hundreds of animals directly from the Macy’s windows.
There is so much more to the holiday season than giving the gift of time, as important as that is. What makes these days special are all the traditions that go along with them: the food, the lights, the wacky clothes, the songs, and the stories onstage, in books, and in movies. Just because you’re not home to revel in the excitement of the big days with your family and friends, doesn’t mean you should miss out! Set aside a few hours every week, take a break from studying, and take in all this city has to offer during the cheeriest season of the year. Here are my suggestions to make this holiday everything it can be.
Take It To the Stage
There is nothing like the enchantment of the Nutcracker during the holiday season. Even though going to ballet performances can be pricey, you don’t have to miss this magical masterpiece because student tickets are available. Hurry and reserve your tickets before they sell out!
Whether you’re looking to hear some of the old favorites, get caught up in the classic hymns, or sing along with the carols, the San Francisco Symphony has the concert schedule to fill all your needs.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside…
So Let’s Stay In!
It’s practically impossible to escape watching a holiday movie in December. Whether you’re looking for comedy, action, or heart-wrenching films, they’re all out there, but here are some of my favorites: “Polar Express,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “A Christmas Story” (comment with your own suggestions on: http://foghorn.usfca.edu). With your choice of warm cider, hot chocolate, eggnog, or a peppermint mocha from Starbucks, there is no way you won’t be in a holiday spirit after watching any of those films.
Playing holiday themed board games like “Whoville-opoly,” listening to festive music, and baking cookies with no shortage of appropriately shaped cookie cutters is the prefect recipe for merriment. Just don’t forget to leave some for Santa.
Shopping as a Sport
Not really, but it might as well be for the next few weeks because it’s enough of a challenge to constitute one. Two words: Christmas sweater. Not only is having one an essential element of getting into the spirit of things, it’s a great excuse to go shopping and spend a few hours trying on silly clothes. Hit up the thrift and vintage stores on Haight and you’ll be singing carols all the way home.
Looking in record stores for abandoned holiday CDs and vinyls, preferably in your festive sweater; need I say more?
San Francisco Specialties
It’s the next best thing to snow! Ice skating in Union Square is one of those things I don’t have to explain why you should go. If it’s not obvious why this is a fantastic use of time during the holidays, then I can’t help you.
Walking around looking at buildings decorated in lights is another must for raising holiday spirit, but why not take advantage of our extraordinary city and do it San Francisco style?! You can take a tour of the city on a motorized cable car to see all the special sights this year, perfect for a group or just a few. (http://www.buysanfranciscotours.com)
Don’t miss all the magic of the holidays in San Francisco because of school and work. With a little careful planning, you can finish your projects and enjoy the festivities. Now that we’re all prepared, bring on the holiday season!
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