When you are a senior in High School there is one feeling that sets in, almost as soon as September rolls around. It’s a sense of wanderlust, a desire to get out and move onto the next thing. For some this, involves going to college. You can’t wait to get out of your parents house, be on your own and have a little more freedom. It’s a natural and important part of life.
Then fast forward the tape about a year. You are a freshman in college, and life couldn’t be better. You’re life is a bustle of activity as you get used to your new schedule and finding your way around campus. There are events to attend, friends to make, and the food tastes great. As far as you are concerned your dorm room feels like a nice hotel.
Then about three months in things start to change. You start to settle in to your new life. The mail in your inbox is nothing but bills and progress reports, Worst of all is the smell, if there is one. It stinks in your dorm, and you want to get out. You and your roommate are less of Cory and Shawn in Boy Meets World and more like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple, your classes are harder then you thought, and your relationship with that special someone is skidding downhill faster than the Flash on an ice patch.
Then all of a sudden something hits you and you want to go home and be with your family. It doesn’t even tend to be something big either. It can be anything from a menu item at school for lunch to a certain song you hear on the radio. Now, while I did call home frequently ( read: every night), there was one thing, more than any other that made me long for home.
T’was a week before finals, and my roommate and I were looking for something fun to do. I had gotten done with that nights performance in the Christmas concert and I was a head of the game on some of my finals. We figured we would walk over to the dorm where a girl we both liked live and hang out.
Much to say she was not happy to see us. She had to be up early for something the next day and promptly told us to get lost. Her words were probably not as harsh but considering the week I had, including the girlfriend of another roommate chewing me out for not knowing where her boyfriend was, it was yet another blow.
So we figured we’d meander a bit and head back to our dorm. As I walked through a lounge I saw a group of girls including one whom was a friend of mine from my 7:45 in the morning English class, sitting down to watch a movie. It turned out it was White Christmas. Then my friend took out some knitting.
All of a sudden it hit me. I was reminded of how things were back when I was a small child at Christmas time, when mom would take out her crocheting and turn on either White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life before I’d head to bed. Those simple, sweet, soothing Christmas classics, that are like a cup of hot cider on a cold winter night. It made me miss my mom more than ever., and those simple days when mom and dad seemed to be able to fix anything.
So how does one cope with that feeling, that sense of longing for home and nostalgia. Calling home is certainly a good way to do it, but a little more is needed, especially at the Holiday season. That is the time of year, more than any other where you are going to long for home and those wonderful traditions that brought so much consistency to your life and make you feel young again.
The easiest thing to do, is to take up those traditions for yourself. Buy a little Christmas Tree ( I recommend buying the replica of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree as it can fit perfectly into any dorm room of any size). Send cards or exchange small gifts. Watch those movies and specials on your own and share them with your friends. The fact is, that is how many traditions start. They are things you and your family did when you were young that you continue to do and then pass on to those who come after.
Your parents didn’t start them after all. Sure, the specials and movies may be a relatively new part of the festivities but the big things, the gifts, the cards, the decorations, they came from their parents. In fact so many of the traditions we hold dearly nowadays started by Immigrants who brought them with from the old country and continued them because they longed for home. They shared them with others and it helped weave the tapestry that is the Holiday season in America.
It can hard being away from home at the holidays. That’s the time more than any other when you want to be with family. However it is through our traditions that our family and our home is with us always. That can help make even the dingiest, smelliest, ugliest dorm room just a little brighter.