Home for the holidays: What students are most looking forward to during winter break

At the end of the fall semester, as studying for finals consumes both day and night, there is one thing college students cannot wait for — winter break. We went to Mozart’s Coffee Roasters and asked some what they are looking forward to the most during the weeks off for the holiday.

— Photos and text by Mackenzie Palmer/American-Statesman

University of Texas international relations and global studies junior Samantha Gorny, 20, said she is looking forward to hanging out with her parents and dogs during the break in Houston, her hometown, as well as watching TV, riding bikes and ice skating. She also will be going to New Jersey for a week to visit her father’s side of the family.


Seamus Hawley, 19, is from Minneapolis, Minn., and said he can’t wait to get back to the cold weather. “I only really like winter for about a month, so that is the perfect amount of time to go back,” Hawley said. He said finals burned him out and he is ready to relax.


Sophomore Jessica Plasters, 19, said that after attending the Day for Night festival in Houston, she can’t wait to hang out with her cats and listen to rap music with her friends at home in San Antonio.


Business marketing major Jared Malik Royal, 22, said he is ready to sleep in and wake up to a big breakfast once he gets home to Keller. In the spirit of the holiday, he said he loves giving presents to his friends and family.


Kassidy Knight, 21, is a University of Texas senior computer engineering major from Haslet, outside Fort Worth. She said she is ready to nap a lot and eat a lot but is going to miss her teammates from Texas 4000, a UT biking group, during break.


UT freshman Chris Uvalle, 19, said he is excited to head back home to Edinburg to hang with old friends and family. And after a semesterlong break, Uvalle said he can’t wait to be reunited with his piano at home.


Austin Community College student Danny Fraser, 25, said he is ready to catch up with old friends in Williamsport, Md. Fraser said he’ll spend his time walking his parents’ dogs, visiting his favorite childhood spots and hiking.


UT student Krissa Martin, 20, from Houston, said she can’t wait to mountain bike, play volleyball and see her 16-year-old sister, Wendy.


Cameron Osmond, 20, a UT liberal arts honors program sophomore, said he loves to eat his parents’ cooking (especially the two dishes above). While back in Flower Mound, Osmond said he’ll dedicate his time to writing the second draft of his screenplay.


Cade Stone, 20, said he is excited to return home, even though home is Austin. “It’s a 25-minute drive, but I’m still excited and looking forward to it,” Stone said.

Still time to share your favorite Christmas ornament

The holiday season can be stressful. I worry about how to afford the gifts, how to make sure everyone gets along at family gatherings, how to keep the kitten from eating all the decorations and just how much chocolate I can eat before I need to borrow Santa’s pants.

But as readers began to send me their most treasured Christmas ornaments, their stories and photos warmed my Grinchy heart.

Here’s one from Jill McCauley Bone of Georgetown:

“Back in about 1947, when I was less than 1, one of my aunts sent me this Santa for Christmas.  It has been in my Christmas tree every year since then.  I see it is getting a little raggedy, but when you are kissing up to 70, raggedy happens.  I love this old Santa and my whole family loves it.  ‘Twoundn’t be Christmas without him in the tree.”

I’d love to see your favorite ornament, too. Please email a high-resolution photo and a brief description of what the ornament means to you to equigley@statesman.com by noon Dec. 12. We’ll run all the photos in an online gallery, and a selection of our favorites will publish in print on Christmas Day.


It’s November, which means it’s time to think about Christmas in Austin

It’s the first day of November. Halloween has come and gone, you’ve got a candy hangover and maybe a temporary skeleton tattoo you forgot to wash off yesterday (no? Just me then) and spooky decorations you don’t feel like taking down. This can only mean one thing: Time to think about Christmas.

The Austin Trail of Lights opened Tuesday night and runs until December 22, 7-10pm. The Christmas tree is on the south side of Barton Springs Road across the street from the Trail of Lights. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Austin Trail of Lights opened Tuesday night and runs until December 22, 7-10pm. The Christmas tree is on the south side of Barton Springs Road across the street from the Trail of Lights.

No, seriously, hear me out here. First of all, I’m not the only one thinking it — “Christmas” has been trending on Twitter in Austin all day.



And, regardless of the fact that it’s inexplicably still above 80 degrees in Austin, it really is time to start thinking about Christmas. No, seriously. You’ve got 53 more days until Christmas — that’s just seven weeks to shop and get jolly and find a Christmas tree and oh man, I’m getting excited. I can already hear some of you saying, “But Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet!” I can’t hear you over my Christmas Spotify playlist, sorry.

At any rate, I asked the Statesman web team what they’re most looking forward to doing now that it’s officially the ~holiday season~ in Austin.

Courtney Sebesta, Senior Digital Editor

“WEAR ACTUAL LONG SLEEVES. Sick of this heat!”



Eric Webb, Social Media & Engagement Editor

  • Going to Barton Creek Square Mall. Yes, I am one of those disturbed people who loves the mall at Christmas time. The decorations, the music, the bustling throngs: I want it all.
  • Carefully researching cookie and pie recipes and going to get ingredients at Central Market.
  • Finding the mulled wine popping up at bars across town. Bangers has an awesome mulled wine.
  • Desperately seeking out holiday programming at Alamo Drafthouse and the Paramount Theatre.
  • The Trail of Lights run!

Jackie Wang, Social Content Producer

  • I still haven’t made it to the Whole Foods ice skating rink but it’s on my must-do list.
  • Mozart’s light show

RELATED: Zilker Tree, Turkey Trot, Chuy’s Parade: So much to do in November for Austin families

RELATED: Austin’s drinking events calendar, November 2016

Personally, I’m ready for fall hikes on the Barton Creek or Bull Creek greenbelts — the kind of hikes where you can actually wear leggings and maybe even a flannel, and see your breath in the air. It’s my favorite time of year to hit the trails. I also can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and hopefully try out some of the recipes from this year’s Austin360 Cookie Contest. There’s something about the holidays that makes me bake for three months straight!

What’s your favorite Austin holiday tradition or event? Let us know in the comments.