What exactly does it mean to be “home for the holidays?” When EWU students were asked this question, nearly all of the responses had family as a central focus. It seems that once young adults move away from home, they finally realize how important family really is to them. Others, however, said they don’t have that strong of a family connection, so they want to be around friends more so than family.
One student said, “I think one of the reasons why I want to be home for the holidays is because I grew up with it. It becomes a routine, and when the routine suddenly changes because I go to school or I moved away for some reason, I feel weird. It’s not normal.”
So, are holiday hours spent with family just a routine? “No,” replied another student. “I’ve always loved my family and I’ve always wanted to be around them. When I was little I had the choice of spending time with my family or with my friends. I always chose my family because that’s what seemed more comfortable to me – more natural.”
“It’s different when you have parents that are divorced,” one student stated. “Every year it’s different, every holiday is shared. It’s really not that enjoyable. All you want is for your entire family to be together, but for some reason that can never be.”
When several professors were asked for their thoughts on the holidays, most had a simple reply along the lines of: “I’m glad to see ’em go.” Speaking, of course, of the students.
“I’m glad to see students go home to their family, it gives me a chance to be with mine,” one professor said. “Being a college professor doesn’t really give me a great deal of time to be with my family because I’m always planning lessons, grading papers, at school … It’s difficult, but when I am with my family, those are the times it counts.”
“Oh, I do all my work from my home, so I’m around my family all the time,” another professor said with pride.
Soldiers in the area had a very different answer to what home for the holidays means. “You have no idea how much I wanted to be around my family when I was in Iraq,” replied one soldier. “Unfortunately, I have responsibilities and duties to my country. I’m fighting so that other people can spend time with their families, both at home and here. That brings me comfort.”