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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Students and teachers prepare for winter break with excitement

Winter break is an exciting and fun time to spend with friends and family.
Winter break is an exciting and fun time to spend with friends and family.

The holiday break is the second most highly anticipated two weeks of the entire school year, second only to the warm and sunny days of spring break. While most people may not be as likely to be caught swimming in pools or sunbathing on the beach during the winter break, after the first four months of school, the holiday break is welcomed with open arms by all staff and students at FHC.

English teacher Sarah Velie is no exception. She and her family have annual traditions for the holiday season that she always looks forward to during the last few weeks of the first semester of the school year. 

Some of her favorite memories from past holidays involve traditions born from the competitive streak held by many members of her family, including her. 

“When we get together with my husband’s extended family, we have a Mario Kart competition,” Velie said. “The winner gets their name written on a recycled pinewood derby trophy. Also, for the last few years, my mom, dad, sisters, and their families have all gathered for a themed cooking contest the weekend after Christmas. Last year, my Millionaire’s Shortbread cookies won, so I got to hang the coveted chef hat ornament on my tree.”

Whether it’s in the form of baking competitions, video game playing, or driving through her neighborhood to look at the Christmas light displays, Velie’s plans for the holidays are all centered around as much time as possible spent with her husband, three sons, and as many other friends and family as possible.

Unfortunately, Velie’s winter break isn’t devoid of schoolwork, and she usually spends at least a portion of her break grading her English students’ work, especially due to the fact that all of her class’s exams are finishing up in the days leading up to break. However, being surrounded by friends, and family, and the smell of freshly baked cookies certainly makes her planning for the next semester of school more joyful. 

Along with some school work and many family competitions, Velie has many more things planned for her holiday break.

This holiday break will be packed! I’m going to spend as much time with my kids as possible,” Velie said. “I plan to cozy up on the couch with a good book as often as I can. We also have traditions we do every year that I’m looking forward to like going to Frederik Meijer Gardens to see the trees from around the world.”

Like all good things, Christmas, unfortunately, doesn’t last forever, and the cleanup days following the holidays are Velie’s least favorite part of her holiday break each year. Having to put all the decorations and lights away in storage for the next year makes her house look shockingly bare, and she misses the Christmas spirit they bring. 

As a parent, I know that each holiday is a little different because children grow and family dynamics change, so soak up all of that time together while you can.

— Sarah Velie

Similar to Velie, and one of her very own students, freshman Cece Foresman, agrees that the end of Christmas break—especially the part where she has to go back to school—is the worst part of the holiday season.

Like most people, Cece is excited to have school off and finally have the time to relax with her friends and family and continue their yearly holiday traditions.

“Usually we go to my grandma’s house on Christmas day,” Cece said, “but I think we’re doing it a little bit differently this year. I think we’re spending some time before Christmas at my grandma’s house, and then on Christmas day, our family will be at my house. Then we always go to my grandparents’ house in Traverse City for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”

With all the excitement and joy surrounding the holidays, there’s bound to be some disappointment too. Everyone has their holiday stories, both funny and not, and Cece and her family are no exception to this.

While they do have their fair share of funny stories to tell, Cece also recalls one Christmas that was not as fun at the moment.

“My worst memory is probably from one of the holiday breaks during Covid,” Cece said. “A couple of years ago my sister had Covid on Christmas but she was better by New Year’s so we thought we could still go up to Traverse City. We all tested and everyone but me tested first and they were all negative so we packed up the car and got ready. No one thought I would have it because I felt and looked fine, but when we took it like 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave it was the slightest bit positive so we had to unpack everything and my sisters were so mad that we had to spend New Years at our house.”

Christmas during COVID-19 was an odd experience for everyone, even if they didn’t actually have the virus like Cece did. Families had to learn how to navigate through their usual holiday activities while still keeping their distance and following the guidelines. 

Luckily, the activities that many people find most enjoyable to take part in over breaks from school are ones spent relaxing at home with family or curling up on the couch to watch movies and read books. While Cece may not have gotten her perfect holiday break a few years ago, she and her family have gone back to their original Christmas and New Year’s traditions, and Cece is looking forward to the break very excitedly this year.

Another person whose perfect holiday break is the one filled with activities they participate in every year is junior Sawyer McCarthy. 

“My perfect holiday break is what I usually spend the break doing anyway,” McCarthy said. “It would consist of my daily six to eight-mile run, and then coming inside and spending time watching Christmas movies with my family.”

The scenery for Sawyer’s daily runs during the holiday break is different than the usual snow-covered streets he usually sees while running. Unlike Velie and Cece, Sawyer and his family are not planning on staying in Michigan for the weeks of the holiday break.

For the first time in Sawyer’s life, he’ll have a green Christmas, filled with palm trees and beaches. He’s excited to try out this new tradition, even if it means missing out on some of his regular winter activities.

“Over Christmas break, my family and I are going to spend a week together in Florida we rented for the week,” Sawyer said. “These are newer plans. We actually have never done this before and it’ll be a cool new experience.”

Whether the holiday break means cuddling up under a blanket with a good book like Velie, visiting family on New Year’s Day like Cece, or even traveling across the country like Sawyer’s family, it is a very exciting time for everyone. 

“My suggestion for everyone this holiday break is to enjoy time with family and try to be present in those moments,” Velie said. “As a parent, I know that each holiday is a little different because children grow and family dynamics change, so soak up all of that time together while you can.  Also, the holiday break is a great time to rest and reset before the craziness of the second semester starts.”

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About the Contributor
Evelyn Alt, Copy Editor
Evelyn is a sophomore entering her second year on The Central Trend. Outside of school, she enjoys reading and hanging out with her friends. Her other interests include playing with her cat, Minerva, and going to Barnes and Noble with her sister, Millie. She is excited for another year writing on The Central Trend staff and looking forward to everything in her future. Favorite color: red Favorite food: anything chocolate Favorite season: Summer Favorite books: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio  

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