After you've survived the struggle of finals season, it's time to head back home for the holidays. As you resume life in your hometown, there are some moments that deserve to be appreciated and cherished. It's important to rejoice in the little things that make you happy and I like to call these joyful little times: the beloved 'first' moments.
Whether you've been gone since the summer or even if your parents just saw you on Thanksgiving, odds are they'll be thrilled to have you back home. Pulling up into the driveway to see their open arms and cheerful grins can make you feel truly loved and wanted. If you have pets at home, it's especially heartwarming to see their wagging tails rush to greet you at the door before they begin constantly following you around the house, in hopes you'll never leave again.
First Uninterrupted Sleep
If you've been driving for hours and inevitably crash for a nap or you finally get that full, 8-hour sleep after the long day, the much-needed rest is a blessing. There's something amazing about having at least one day to sleep in without worrying about your next course deadline or rushing to memorize every last piece of information for an exam. Having a stress-free, uninterrupted rest is quite blissful and something to be grateful for after a semester of hard work.
First Homemade Meal
With dining halls and delivery, college is often about eating on-the-go or dealing with whatever food your college or university provides. Even if you live off-campus and cook for yourself, it can be challenging to reach the exquisite level of taste that your family's meals create. Coming back home means you'll likely be given hot, savory, delectable meals from your parents or family members. Having a meal prepared for you once in a while that isn't bland and adequate can be a real treat.
Living in dorm halls and having communal bathrooms means wearing flip flops into a shower that you're sharing with nearly a hundred other people. Instead of wearing shoes while you shower and worrying about the bacteria on the floor as you try to get clean, you can enjoy your own shower at home. No shoes and no worries mean you can take your time in the shower without being rushed and without needing to bring a shower caddy along.
First Friends Reunion
If you're lucky enough to have hometown friends that you've kept in touch with after starting college, then winter break is the best time to see each other again. You can spend hours catching them up on everything that happened to you in the past few months and debating who has the craziest story from their fall semester. Spending some quality time with your old friends and sharing aspects of your college life can make you feel like you jumped right back into that familiar friendship, no matter how much time has passed.
First Favorite Coworker Reunion
Once you have a job that you've worked at for quite some time, you get to know your coworkers. After long, exhausting hours, you get a good grasp on which people you'd prefer to be around as you get the job done. If you have a favorite coworker that you only see when you're working during college breaks, it's thrilling to see their familiar, happy face as you're just about to start another long shift. Working in retail during the holidays, I've endured back-to-back shifts on Black Friday and overnight shifts checking inventory, but doing those shifts alongside my favorite coworker always made it more bearable.
First Decent Drink
Obviously this one's only for those of you ages 21 and up, but having a decent alcoholic drink once back home can make you reconsider the cheap liquor you buy at college. Burnetts, Finlandia, or André, there's always a bottle of alcohol that everyone at your college knows is dirt cheap but tastes awful. If you're allowed to make a drink at your parents' house with their top-shelf bottles, you'll appreciate the quality of that first, tasteful drink after settling for a $10-$20 bottle of alcohol that you lived off of during college.
First Favorite Cousin Bonding
As the holiday festivities begin, you'll likely be surrounded by family members. Growing up, maybe you had one or two cousins that were automatically your favorite, whether it was because of their hilarious personality or their ability to always relate to you. When your family members pile into the house, there's something exciting about seeing your favorite cousin walk in the door. As soon as you see their face, you can guarantee you're about to have fun.
First T.V. Show Binge
Maybe you've been dying to catch up on some episodes of your favorite show that you've been recording on the DVR at home while you were away. Maybe you've got an entire season of unwatched episodes on your Netflix or Hulu account that you've been waiting to start without any disturbances. Whatever it is, the first time you can watch your shows without an unwanted break or any interruption, it sets the tone for ultimate comfort and peace.
After the holidays are over and it's time to head back to college, the last piece of your home goes back with you in the form of leftovers. Even though you can't stay and enjoy home forever, the leftovers from those homemade meals can give you that last bit of familiar comfort you may need as you prepare for the new semester ahead. Although warming them up isn't the same as the hot, freshly cooked meal, the leftovers are still a piece of home that you can take with you as you remember the meals you get to look forward to next time you return home.
Returning home for your holiday break can make you feel welcomed, wanted, and loved. With every beloved 'first' moment comes the appreciation for everything you'll only get at home and won't get back in college. As you finish with finals and return home for the holidays, I hope you all have a great break!