Photography by Kate Opre
Holidays are a joyful time for many, but when the clouds gather and the temperature drops, trapping us in our homes, sometimes keeping in the holiday spirit presents it’s challenges. Christmas happens to be my favorite time of the year, but as someone whose mood is affected greatly by her surroundings, I have certain traditions I keep in order to keep my spirits high. Seasonal depression, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder, is something people of all kinds fight to ward off during the gloomy days of winter. So, to fight cabin fever, I’ve compiled a list of ways to make sure the holidays are enjoyed to their full extent.
1. Do all the winter things. All of them.
There are so many things that are only available during this time of year. As an avid Christmas lover, it is my civic duty to indulge in all of these things. It’s a little difficult to do some key winter activities in southern California, where there is absolutely no snow ever, and probably never has been. I can’t ski, or snowboard, or even walk in the snow correctly. But I never pass up ice skating, Starbucks' peppermint mochas, caroling, or keeping the same holiday station on in my car for the entire duration of December. Take advantage of commercialized X-Mas; it has a lot to offer.
2. Sugar cookies and hot chocolate are good, in moderation.
UGH, food, man. I love it. I wish Santa could gift me unlimited room in my stomach so I could drink like, five cartons of eggnog every day. The thing that really breaks my bank account are those sugar cookies you find in the fridge section with the reindeers imprinted on them. I eat the whole batch. Even during the rest of the year, I don’t eat or exercise as well as I know I should. Letting your health go during the holidays is too easy. Eat that Christmas turkey, drink that overpriced gingerbread latte. But make sure you’re getting the vitamins that the sun isn’t there to provide you and the activity you need to prevent yourself from turning into a walking fruit cake. You’ll thank your New Year’s resolution later.
3. Holiday movies. (!!!)
Elf. The Polar Express. Are there Hannukah movies? Those too. ABC has an abundance of holiday movies every year. I’m not saying you should watch every movie you can get your hands on (you should), but they are such a good way to spend time with loved ones when the weather is gloomy. I even watch them by myself when I’m feeling low. Hit me up if you need recommendations, I have an ever growing list. But please, please don’t let another December go by without watching “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. It’s so heart-warmingly cheesy, but I cried anyway.
4. Surround yourself with positive people.
An ever growing cliché is spending the holidays with people you just can’t stand, typically relatives. It’s funny to throw jokes around about old, conservative Uncle Frank who insists on getting drunk and bashing “filthy liberals” during Christmas dinner, but unfortunately those people do actually exist. Family is important, but so is surrounding yourself with people who make you appreciate the holidays for what they actually mean, not what Target and Hallmark tells us they should mean. Put away some time to have friends (the good ones) over to do a gift exchange, marathon movies, or have an ugly sweater party.
5. Buy presents. (Even if people don’t deserve them.)
A present doesn’t always have to be the hot item at the Black Friday sale at Macy’s. I wish I could shower the people I love with the top thing on their list, but I am more broke than George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This year I spent as much money as I could coax out of my wallet on baking ingredients and baked up a frickin’ storm for my friends. The dollar store is also a really handy place to buy a ton of candy and candles and other things that we don’t need but have to buy anyway because it’s the dollar store. Thrift stores also go extremely under appreciated during the holidays; they are jackpots for ugly sweaters and things like records and books to make people feel grungy.
6. Winter’s contribution to nature in underrated.
I wish I could say I miss the sun, but I don’t. At all. I am loving this weather. I love the way the street lights reflect off the road when it rains at night. I love waking up when it’s cold, and I can bury myself under my blankets and be late for class because I accidentally fell asleep again. This tip could go along with trying to be more active. If you’re a SoCal local, there is no snow and no excuses preventing you from enjoying all that Jack Frost has to offer. Go on a walk and enjoy wearing long sleeves for once. It’s liberating.