‘Tis the Season For Cold, Hard Reality: Why We Shouldn’t Expect So Much Out Of The Holidays

It’s a beautiful, snowy evening in New York City’s Central Park. A couple, equipped with stylish winter hats and matching mittens, climb aboard a carriage, decorated with red bands of golden bells and holly. The couple embraces under a warm, wool blanket, as the horse clip-clops down the snowy path. And then, SPLAT. The mighty steed dumps a big, hot mess on the road. Whoa! That’s not the perfect scene we pictured, now is it?

As the holidays roll around and we prepare for a much-needed break from lectures and homework, we like to prepare a list of things to do that will make our time away from school flawless. It’s rare, however, that these events turn out the way that we pictured them.

IN OUR MINDS: We should make those cookies from Pinterest that look like a melted snowman, complete with marshmallows and intricate decoration.
IN REALITY: By the time we get to decorating the plain sugar cookies, we’ve already eaten half of them, and are left with a bag of jumbo marshmallows and three bags of icing. Might as well eat those too.

IN OUR MINDS: The whole gang should get together for a whimsical outdoor festivity like a sleigh ride or ice-skating. We will pack generous amounts of hot chocolate and wear the cutest little mittens that make us look like we’re prepared for winter, but not like we’re trying too hard.
IN REALITY: What started out as a picturesque winter activity turns into frostbitten fingertips, a friend with a sprained ankle, and the hot chocolate gone too quickly. This sounds more like the aftermath of a hike up Mount Everest than a cinematic holiday scene.

IN OUR MINDS: Let’s DVR all of the classic holiday movies (the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story, and Elf) and invite over that special someone that we’ve been dying to spend time with while we were away at college.
IN REALITY: Instead, we’re lying in our pajamas at 2:00 in the afternoon, watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model or the Real Housewives of New Jersey, with a bowl of chocolate ice cream replacing that person who we thought we’d be cuddling with.

When it’s time to return back to school after winter break, the stories that we have to tell are far different from the ones that we expected. The break seems like it wasn’t even close to being perfect, until we reflect and realize that those Pinterest cookies were still delicious, the sprained ankle will make for a funny story for friends to tell down the road, and that last season of ANTM and bowl of ice cream made all of the stresses of the first semester and finals melt away.

If your winter break isn’t exactly what you expected, don’t fret. The memory of grandpa’s teeth falling out from laughing so hard after downing his second cup of spiked eggnog was priceless. Seriously. And hey, there’s always next year to paint that perfect Christmas picture (even though deep down we know that it will be far from perfect).

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