Apple Cider

Helen Le, Feature Editor

As the holidays approach, traditions wrap up the year with customary cheer.

Today, at lunch, my friends and I were talking about foods to bring for our Secret Santa potluck. The hostess asked us if we’d like her parents to supply apple cider.

The mention of the drink reminded me of my mom’s side of the family and of our past Christmases at my grandfather’s house. My uncle, who is the same age as me, my cousin, and I would always jump at the bottles of apple cider whenever my aunt would bring home grocery bags. They’d always be in those cardboard papers or in the boxes, and the three of us would unpack them with excitement. My older uncle provided us glasses to pour the sparkling cider.

We went through so many bottles in a day. Those were good times.

Now, though, instead of stockings and presents occupying the forefront of my mind, finals have taken over.

It seems like every year the weeks of school are closer and closer to Christmas so that we have less time to prepare for the 25th. Less time to do whatever we want with our families. But I guess that’s more of a first-world issue. I touched on the issue of loneliness during such times of reunion in my last post. That’s not what I want to focus on today, but there is always the consideration for those who are not as fortunate.

I’m looking forward to the weekends and to winter break. Rogue One is going to be out, the days will be colder, and there is always the holiday cheer in the air, that feeling that’s shared and communicated wherever one goes. I like that cheer. It’s one of the things that always tugs me to winter when somebody asks me what my favorite month is. Summer, my birth month, sunshine and swimming and my cousins in Missouri — those are tough contenders for the spot. I’ve learned to fall back on just enjoying whatever the season is.

There’s also time to relax, finally, maybe. Time to sleep in and to bake, to play video games and to sleep some more, to exercise (and to get back in shape, in my case). Winter doesn’t end after break, after all. Spring sports’ beginnings often extend into late winter. I’m anxious for that.

I never really believed in Santa. He has always been a fictional character to me. I never questioned who the man in the white beard and the red outfit was at the mall, but I knew he was just a man. Perhaps I missed out on a portion of childhood because of that, that lack of belief in magic. At the same time, though, realism isn’t bad in moderate doses. But that’s a whole other topic, maybe even a can of worms that I don’t feel like opening right now.

When I was younger, I read this giant book that had a lot of fun information about anything, from jokes to camping to menstruation. There was a section of recipes to try out that were ordered from easy to hard with one “advanced” one (best to my knowledge; I recall this from a different time when I was different), one that the book dared the reader to try. Fried worms in bread crumbs! Just pick the earthworms in your local garden, freeze them so they don’t wiggle, fry and coat. It’s that easy.

That’d be a good present for a little kid. Maybe when I have nieces or nephews, I’ll gift that to them.

Presents are difficult when you’re on a budget, too. I know I am. Especially if they’re unplanned. I had a list of all the people I was going to buy gifts for, and I had everything basically planned out: what to get them, how much it would be. But then a friend would mention that they’re working on a present, something for me in the multiple, and I’d think, Oh, no.

But that’s a good problem to have. I think I’ll be able to find something. Scrap together a few small items through sheer willpower. Add some chocolates. Wrap it up nicely. Give it with a heartfelt card and a smile and their name in cursive.

That sounds eerily like a Valentine’s gift now…

Are you today’s date? Because you’re 12/12.