Firstly, it is great to be back in the point-counterpoint groove. Your editors, Allegra and I, have decided not only to recommence writing these columns but also to post them each Thursday night as online exclusives.
This gives you, the readers, a chance to take a peek into our thoughts and hear our voices for the first time all semester — whether that is something you have been yearning for or if it drives you away quicker than if we had posted a 3,000-word ode to the beauty of Lana Del Rey.
Either way, get ready for a few minutes of rhetorical babble while Allegra and I debate the merits of spending time at home with family versus spending these upcoming four days in solitary, jet-setting bliss. She is a worthy, and admittedly intimidating, competitor in this battle of wits and persuasion, but I have the power of blatant nostalgia on my side. I am confident the warm fuzzies will out.
As a Fox Cities Sconnie, there is nothing for me to do at home. No nightlife to compare to Madison’s bar scene, no pleasant weather to take in, not even a mall in which I could window-shop. This is precisely what makes it the best possible destination for a college student on break.
No external distractions, free and delicious foods aplenty and a heating system that actually works: This is the college student’s definition of paradise.
Whereas if we were on a trip, who knows what the conditions would be? Flights get delayed. Money is needlessly spent on airport food and subpar hotel rooms. And where is your VHS collection to comfort you when stranded on a New York subway platform? Oh yeah, it’s all the way back here in the suburbs where you left it.
I do not mean to dis the life of a nomad. I have taken countless road trips and spontaneous vacations in my day, too. Given my way, I will be living across the pond come graduation. But four days is not nearly enough time to get a decent tan, or do more than a hurried sightsee. Heck, you will be seeing more of the inside of O’Hare than the culture of wherever that plane is taking you.
Allegra, let me give you a run-down of my itinerary between now and Saturday night — Sunday is reserved for our writers meeting and newspaper production, of course.
Wednesday (Yep, my classes were canceled. What up!): Sleep in. Watch Harry Potter films one through three. Make pie. Go on a nature walk with family.
Thursday: Wake up slightly earlier to help make Harry Potter-themed foods for the Thanksgiving feast. I am talking pumpkin pasties, pumpkin juice, treacle tart and Ferrero Rocher winged snitches. Watch films four through six, interrupted briefly by a short game of football with neighbors. Eat said feast. Nap. Make crafts I have been pinning on Pinterest all semester but have not had time to actually do.
Friday: Gloat about not partaking in Black Friday madness. Finish out the week with both “Deathly Hallows” films. I would normally be up for seeing “Lincoln” or “Silver Linings Playbook,” but by this point the eyes will be movied out. Eat leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal. Pack the rest up and head back to Madison for the men’s hockey game against Mankato.
Saturday: Go drunk-bowling with friends, make lasagna and rent a movie. That’s right; no more fruitlessly flipping through Netflix for this girl.
And that is why, my fellow editor, home is the one and only place to be this break.
Dear Sarah, there’s no place like home for the holidays. Except when there is.
Most people will tell you Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, to break bread together and share in the warm glow that comes from truly appreciating what you’re thankful for. I’m going to be a cynic and say Thanksgiving is far too often simply the massive meal between a football game and the crazy fest known as Black Friday. So why not skip it this year?
While air and bus fares are often jacked up for those heading home for Thanksgiving, if home is not your destination, Thanksgiving can prove a thrifty time to get your travel on, especially if you fly out on Thanksgiving Day itself or use standby programs like AirTran U. If the idea of traveling on Turkey Day to save a buck is at first offensive, consider the fact that thousands of shoppers will venture out with bellies still full of stuffing to get 10 percent off things they didn’t need. And now proceed to feel less guilty about traveling.
Since the University of Wisconsin has decided we deserve only two days off, you’re not going to be able to fully utilize cheaper fares to, say, Europe, but a few U.S. cities are sweetening the deal for non-turkey seekers. Tourist destinations like Vegas and even Chicago offer deals on hotels and shows over the weekend in attempts to cut losses, meaning you, oh college student, can dip out for a crazy mini-vacation at as little as half the price. Now is an excellent time to get your Cirque du Soleil on.
This is not to say you working pre-exam stress out on the slot machine is more important than family. Family is (or at least should be) a vital and important part of everyone’s lives, but you really don’t need a Hallmark holiday to express that. The schlepping and consuming involved in Thanksgiving can make it more obligatory than fulfilling, and stressing grandma out with conflicting bus schedules and changing dietary restrictions (all of you sudden vegetarian/vegan/gluten-frees out there) is really not as enjoyable as calling her up for a lunch date just the two of you. And if you’d be traveling home anyway, why not repurpose the “hassle” of travel from a dive into the mundane into a quick break from reality? You can even catch up on Harry Potter while in transit.
So while the rest of the country is out sneaking wine and having that second slice of subpar store-bought pie, you can be living it up in a hotel suite with your bestie, watching highlights of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on YouTube or planning your non-3 a.m. kickoff for a luxurious day of shopping — maybe if you bring mom a souvenir she won’t even miss you.