At the end of the fall semester, most students are looking forward to a nice, relaxing Christmas break.
For many, this means going home and spending time with family.
Some students have relatively short road trips ahead of them.
Vikki Rollings, a freshman elementary education major, will be returning to her home in Sumter, South Carolina.
For the first week of vacation, Rollings will be bringing university friends for a brief visit home.
Then the celebration will begin in earnest with cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast and reading the Christmas story.
The fun will continue even after the presents have been exchanged and opened.
“We usually end up throwing trash at each other,” Rollings said, referring to the used gift wrap.
Many students will be leaving the state, however. To the South, freshman creative writing major Lauren Heilman will return to her home in Alabama.
According to Heilman, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a traditional trip to Fantasy and Lights at Callaway Gardens, the home of the Azalea Bowl.
There, Heilman will enjoy light displays and other Christmas-themed activities with her family.
To the North, Jess Howe, a sophomore criminal justice major, will be relaxing in New Jersey where she and her family spend quality time with her mother’s relatives.
“We have a family party that we do Christmas Eve,” Howe said.
On top of spending time with family, Howe said her family also tries to make an annual trip to Philadelphia to enjoy the holiday decorations and other activities together.
Other students will be going to the Midwest.
Bethany Fichter, a sophomore Christian ministries major, enjoys spending her Christmas in Michigan with her extended family.
According to Fichter, music plays an important role in her family’s Christmas celebration, which includes a nursing home ministry with a Christmas carol sing.
Stephen Field, a second-year cross-cultural studies graduate student, will also be returning to Michigan to enjoy his family’s unique set of holiday traditions.
The Field family will enjoy Chinese for dinner on Christmas Eve in honor of his grandparents who started the tradition and fondue on Christmas day. His family even has a different twist on opening presents.
“We do the Christmas pickle ornament,” Field said. With the Christmas pickle, Field’s mother will hide a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree, and the person who finds the ornament first will open the first gift.
However, not every student will be able to return home for the holidays.
For instance, Kimberly Cornelius, a sophomore Christian ministries major and daughter of missionaries currently living in Dominica, will be making the 24-hour drive to Texas this December to spend time with her brother and sister-in-law and her nephew.
Amid the celebrations and enjoying time with family, Cornelius hopes to enjoy a warm Christmas in a more unique way.
“We’re going to try and ride horses on the open range,” Cornelius said.
Instead of returning to Australia where his parents are missionaries, Paul Kwok will be spending his Christmas break in Colorado.
While in Colorado, Kwok will be visiting with his aunt and uncle while enjoying his first winter in several years.
“I really want to see the snow. It’s been ages since I’ve seen the snow,” Kwok said.