Once I survive finals week here in my upstate New York college, I will have the pleasure of packing my bags and heading back home to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It's where I grew up, and the only place I can imagine spending the holiday season, surrounded by my family. It's always strange to me, being up here, or watching traditional holiday movies and seeing depictions of Christmas that are so different from my own. I mean, the basics are the same. Family, food, music...but that's about where the similarities end. And call me biased, but I'm personally much more of a fan of the Boricua rendition. Let me explain.

1. Who needs snow?

I'll put this out there, "White Christmases" are HELLA overrated. You know what my favorite part of the winter is? Scrolling through the pictures on Instagram while I'm on the beach. You can keep your snowmen and fireplaces, I'm going to string some lights from a palm tree and dance the night away in a tiny holiday dress.

2. Parrandas are like leveled up caroling

If you've never been to a parranda, boy are you missing out. This is the staple of a Puerto Rican Christmas! It's like a more fun and less structured form of caroling. Starting at one house, families and friends go house to house through the night, playing music (loudly) and singing (badly) and having a grand old time, greeted at each door with food and alcohol. After you move on to the next door, the occupants of the previous house join in on the fun, until you have the entire neighborhood together in one giant party that goes on until the dawn! Nothing brings neighbors together like a good parranda, truly.

3. Speaking of food and alcohol...

Pernil.

Pasteles.

Tembleque.

COQUITO.

COQUITOOOOOOOOOO

(Basically leveled up eggnog. But better. Much better.)

Point being, Puerto Rican food is just better in general, but during the holidays it takes on a whole new amazingness.

4. It LASTS longer!

Puerto Ricans take their holiday season seriously. You think the normal Thanksgiving to New Year's Day duration is excessive? Please. You have no stamina whatsoever. You can rest assured from the end of Halloween until LATE January there will be excuses for some holiday partying. I mean, you can't disappoint anyone! You have to go to titi's party...your other titi...your abuela...your OTHER titi...your cousin who you're not quite sure how you're related to...your dad's coworker's cousin who he's not quite sure how he's related to...yep. All these parties are must go to's. I mean, you can't really blame us, after all, we even have an extra holiday to celebrate...

5. DIA DE LOS REYES

Another holiday indeed! The evening of January 5th rolls around, and all the little Puerto Rican kids are running into their front yards with shoe boxes to collect grass, to in turn put under their bed. It's for the camels of course! Whose camels? THE THREE KINGS, DUH. Forget about them, huh? They're pretty freaking important. And when they wake up the morning of the 6th, they'll find a box full of toys left for them by the grateful travellers (or helpful parents)! Seriously, what isn't fun about that? I'm really surprised it hasn't caught on over here. You guys need to catch up to our awesomeness.

As you can see, Puerto Rican Christmases are merely far superior in every possible way. So maybe next year, when you want to escape the wintery north (and you know you want to) you can come down to my neck of the woods. We have coquito.