‘Tis the season for celebration! Every year at Christmastime, the College of the Holy Cross campus transforms into a winter wonderland with festive decorations, holiday concerts and campus-wide feasts. In the spirit of the holidays, the Holy Cross community — students, faculty and staff alike — came together to share the best gift they’ve ever received, from once-in-a-lifetime experiences to cherished belongings.
Rejoice in the most wonderful time of the year with us.
Studying abroad is the best gift I ever received. I went to England. For a while, it wasn’t really feasible because of how much it cost and how long I’d be there, but my mom helped me out a lot with it, and it was the most rewarding experience.
It was one of the first Christmases I can remember. We were living in Cincinnati at the time. I remember I got this field goal—like a plastic, Fischer Price football field goal. It was little, but I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I also got this electric football field—it vibrated so the people moved around, and it was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen. Still, to this day, it’s one of my favorite things when I go home and see it. I don’t know why that Christmas was so great — but my little brother had just been born, so it was his first Christmas. It really sticks with me.
I was a grad student in 2012 and outside my window at my desk — where I was slaving away on a philosophy paper — was a playground at which local schoolchildren would make a lot of noise; most days I was annoyed by them and the distraction they posed. Then the 14th of December happened, and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The next day, when school was in session, the schoolchildren came and played like always, and made just as much noise as usual. But instead of being annoyed that day, I sat at my desk and cried these big, heaving sobs, for their gleeful shrieking was the most beautiful sound I could think of in the wake of such a monstrous tragedy and I found myself profoundly grateful for it. I still do.
A family vacation. I went to Texas with my entire extended family, and from there we traveled all around. I love travelling and I love being with my family, and seeing my little nieces and nephews was so much fun.
I have two daughters who both live out of town. My younger daughter was living in Northampton at the time and made a dinner reservation at a place where she had a connection—it was going to be really nice. And when I show up, she secretly also arranged for my older daughter to fly in from out of town. I walked in and asked for the reserved table, and there they both were. It was the greatest ever.
It’s kind of funny. My brother took me, when I was 13, to go get a boat, or at least that’s what he said. A person had this free boat on Craigslist, and we show up and the boat was just made out of plywood and crown molding and glue. We had to put it on my brother’s car, but it was free. I don’t think it floated and we never took it out, but it was just fun to go out with my brother and have an adventure.
My job and the family that I have here at Holy Cross are the greatest gifts!
When my grandmother passed away, she left me a handkerchief—a little scarf. Her mother had given it to her, and then she passed it along to me.
I had a friend plan not one, but two surprise parties for me. It wasn’t a “gift” gift, but it was amazing when I walked into the room and everyone was like, “Surprise!”
When I was younger, each year for Christmas and New Year’s, my parents would buy plane tickets for the four of us to go to Medellin, Colombia. It was something that I looked forward to each year because it meant that I was able to spend quality time with the majority of my extended family.
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