Ways to feel Festive this holiday season

Morgan Tracy '22

The holiday season is rolling around the corner fast as December is already here. Holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are spread throughout the month, filling us all with excitement. How can we get into the festive spirit to prepare for these holidays? Here are some ways to feel festive this holiday season…

One of the first and most important ways to feel festive this season is to ice skate! There are many places to skate in the area where you can rent skates and glide on the rink! The outdoor ice skating rink in Pentagon City is very popular and close in location to the school. Personally, that one is my favorite. It is placed right outside the Pentagon City Mall, so grabbing a bite to eat before or after is very easy. Note that because of COVID, this rink makes you pay online beforehand and requires you to select a time for a reservation. Don’t worry, it’s very easy, just know that you can’t walk up to the rink to pay anymore. Located on M Street in DC, Canal Park Ice Skating Rink is rated to be a really fun rink, and unique because of its odd shape. This ice skating rink isn’t just a rectangle, it actually has two loops on either side of the rink, making it shaped more like an infinity sign. If you are looking for something different, Canal Park might be the place for you. Canal Park Ice Skating Rink is a little less than 20 minutes away from the school’s location. Canal Park has certain hours for the rink, however, this location is closed until a later time in December for now. If you want to be skating right next to the Potomac River for some beautiful scenery, the Wharf Ice Rink is the place to go. This place is located along the border of DC and is a 15-minute drive from the school’s location to the Wharf. The rink is literally right on the water as the ground protrudes out onto the water. This location is beautiful at night as they light the rink up with adorable fairy lights. 


If you’re not a fan of ice skating, there are other ways to feel festive this time of year that are much smaller but more meaningful. For example, having a Secret Santa or White Elephant game amongst your friends or family is a great way to feel festive and inclusive during the month of December. For those who don’t know, Secret Santa and White Elephant are mainly the same game: a group of people all pick each other’s names out of a hat (one person per name). It’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone the name you picked. Go out and buy a present for the person you picked, and voila! White Elephant, however, has a twist: as you take turns revealing gifts, people can steal a gift that was opened before their turn. This leads to gifts being a bit more competitive and silly. Overall, that’s Secret Santa and White Elephant. Say you hate spending a lot of money on other people, there might be something else for you, too. Only spend a few dollars on a gingerbread house and build it! Maybe have a gingerbread house competition with friends or family. Gingerbread houses from Giant are currently $14.99! 


If you are not in a position to be spending money this season -- no worries! There are other options for the grinches out there, too. Instead of spending your bucks, go ahead and watch some holiday movies in the comfort of your own home. Light some winter candles, make some hot cocoa, and turn on the TV. Some iconic movie favorites are, “Home Alone,” “The Grinch,” and “The Polar Express.” Having a holiday movie marathon is an easy way to cozy up with your friends and family and spend a nice chilly day inside. 


Last but not least, if you’re interested in giving back to the community around you this time of year, there are multiple holiday-themed activities for service. On December 18th, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be hosting its annual “Wreaths Across America” service where anyone (as long as you pre-register on their website!) can lay wreaths on headstones in the cemetery. This activity is welcome to all and is encouraged to support our lost veterans this holiday season. For more information, you can check out the Arlington National Cemetery website. Moreover, if you want to be even more local service-wise, clubs Book Buddies and Saints Supporting Refugees are providing the “Angel Tree Coat Drive.” This service opportunity allows students to pick a card off the tree which contains a child’s name, their coat size, and preferred color. With that information, you’re supposed to go out and purchase your child’s winter coat. This is a great way to give back to our local community for younger children so they can stay warm this winter. To learn more information about the Angel Tree Coat Drive, check your email for this service opportunity. 


There are lots of ways to feel festive during this holiday season! Now is especially the time to make a great come-back as last year was riddled with COVID restrictions. Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the winter culture once again. Go ice skating, exchange gifts, watch movies and make hot cocoa, or go on and give back to your community. There are many options for everyone! Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year!