The Keystone Connection
Holiday Highs and LowsTuesday, December 27, 2011 By Bethel Habte
Holidays - the one time a year when nothing else matters except great company, food, and time. The holidays are often a time for relaxing and forgetting the stress of your everyday life. If you’re like most teens, you could definitely use the time off. While there are exceptions, most teens spend the weeks leading up to the holidays being bombarded with magnitudes of schoolwork. Do finals ring a bell? Regardless, the stress of finals, essays, and notes melts away on that first day of break. In fact, many of us usually spend the first day of break sleeping in, eating junk food, and watching movies. Others choose to spend time with friends they feel they haven’t seen in what must be a month as they wandered through the haze of school. Others prepare for travel as they make their rounds with family. Then, there are those unlucky ones who feel the nagging stress of finals to be taken right after break. These joyful feelings are only heightened by the essence of the holidays. How do teens feel about the holidays? From observations and experiences throughout my life, teens certainly have their perspectives on the holidays. I am Christian, and celebrate Christmas. Many of my friends celebrate a plethora of other holidays including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Christmas is a wonderful way to see just how much someone cares about you. Presents anyone? Well, teens aren’t altogether vain. We care quite a bit about finding lovely and personal gifts for friends and family. In fact, what little stress that teens seem to accumulate for the holidays can probably be shown in gift shopping. After all, we’re broke half of the time, unless you happen to be one of the lucky few to land yourself a job. More important than the presents or the physical objects, the part many look forward to the most over the holidays is the chance to spend it with those we love. This is the time of year to see family and make memories that will last long after the presents have disappeared. The same can be applied to friends who celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Friends of mine that celebrate Hanukkah seem to enjoy doing so with other Jewish friends. The day of Christmas is then spent eating a big meal or having fun with other Jews. Those that celebrate Kwanzaa often do so with close family. Once the wrapping has been completely thrown out and our food comas have ended, we are reminded that our greatest gift has yet to come. New Years is the gift that allows us to examine our past and the chance to rewrite our future. Most teens don’t take the time to write out their resolutions, but they certainly have a few in mind. If you’re like most, your first resolution often involves the words, “stop procrastinating”, or “study harder.” They might also include family goals. Perhaps you should help out more around the house, or maybe you resolve to restrain from killing your siblings. Finally, we have that last big change for the New Year. Cheesy romantic comedies have instilled within us this desire for that special someone or relationship. As one of my friends would say, “I’m as single as a unibrow.” If you are as well, perhaps you’ll agree that the “kiss on new years” tradition is a big downer on an otherwise perfect day. The greatest advice I know is to find amazing friends and enjoy the New Year with them. I guarantee relationships come and go, but friends will be there year after year.