All you need is love: what the winter break means to U of S students

By in Culture/Features

Anticipation is in the air at the University of Saskatchewan — the end of first term classes is approaching, exam season is just over the horizon and, at last, the winter break is within reach. Though the lure of lazy days and sleeping in sounds very attractive, it seems there’s one thing about the break many U of S students agree is better: spending time with family.

The U of S is a very diverse university, with a large population of students from communities in Saskatchewan, both Aboriginal and otherwise, as well as a prominent group of students from abroad. China, Vietnam, Ecuador and Brazil are especially well represented, since the U of S maintains relationships with scholarship groups aimed at students from those countries. There are students from all over the world on campus and they bring with them their unique cultures.

Religious diversity is also strong at the U of S. There are religious student groups like the Muslim Students’ Association, a recognized Hillel — an international Jewish organization for the enhancement of Jewish student experience — campus presence and affiliated Christian theological colleges like the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, to name just a few examples. Plus, there are students, such as myself, who are not religious.

With all these cultural and religious backgrounds — not to mention different age groups, areas of interest and academic programs — it’s hard to believe that U of S students can agree what is most important about the winter break.

 While their plans vary, their memories of past holidays differ and although many do mention sleep, one word pops up most frequently by far: family.


8 copyTaralyn Donohue

The College of Arts and Science, second year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

A time to spend with my family and not be worrying about school.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

One entire side of our family gets together, including aunts and uncles and cousins, it’s a really big thing.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Going to Mexico last year!

What’s your favourite part about the holidays?

Everyone’s spirit just changes. Everyone’s more positive. It’s nice.


Lightning Wapass9 copy

The College of Arts and Science, Aboriginal public administration, first year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

Time off and easy days.

Do you have any holiday season traditions?

We started a family extravaganza. It’s just a big get-together of family we don’t see very often.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Family being there.

What’s your favourite part about the holiday season?

The snow!


Amirali Ostad Mohammad Nazari2 copy

The College of Medicine, physiotherapy and pharmacology, second year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

Basically it’s like summer! Because basically you don’t do anything. A lot of family, friends.

Where’s home, and what are your holiday season plans?

I’m from Saskatoon. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but we put a tree out though!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My mom bought me a GoPro last year.

What’s your favorite part about the holiday season?

Family.


Christin Partin

The College of Engineering, first year.5 copy

What does the winter break mean to you?

It means time to spend with my family and friends.

Where’s home, and what are your holiday season plans?

I’m originally from Kindersley, Sask. I’m probably going to stay in Saskatoon because I have family in Saskatoon.

Do you have any holiday season traditions?

Not really, besides the normal stuff. Get a tree, lights and decorations.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The best is when someone visits. That’s the best to me.


Priscila-Tyna Ferreira da Silva

3 copyThe College of Arts and Science, Indigenous studies and social work, third year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

It’s a time to relax, get my mind off school, my everyday responsibilities. Running away from life and just enjoying the break.

Where’s home, and what are your holiday season plans?

My family lives in Brazil, so it is too expensive. So, I’ll be going to Victoria instead. I’m going with a couple of friends. It’s an adventure!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My exchange program. When I was 16, my parents sent me to study abroad here for grade 11 and it was really good experience. I liked it, so I decided to come back.


Samantha Waters

The College of Education, second year.6 copy

What does the winter break mean to you?

More time to make some money! Also, spending time with family. My family lives here, so I’ll spend the time in the city.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

My family every Christmas always makes a [lot] of appetizers and we just eat appetizers all night. My mom makes a birthday cake for Jesus, which I think is cute.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

When I was a child, I got a giant dollhouse so that was pretty exciting. I think that’s the last time I really freaked out over a gift.

What’s your favourite part about the holiday season?

It’s nice to have some time off. I like the atmosphere, and how people get more family-oriented and happier, most of the time.


Parker Dawson

1 copyThe College of Arts and Science, second year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

I get to see a lot of family, I visit my grandparents. I usually go snowboarding, usually at Table Mountain but I might go on a trip to Montana this year.

Do you celebrate Christmas, either religiously or not?

A little bit. Mostly the cultural parts.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My girlfriend gave me a scrapbook of basically my entire life.

What are you most looking forward to during

the break?

Sleeping in! No school, and I really want to do some snowboarding.


Bryn Hawkins10 copy

The College of Arts and Science, first year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

Family.

Do you have any holiday season traditions?

We always go to my grandma’s house.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A trip to Disneyworld when I was 12!

What’s the best part of the holiday season?

Seeing family from all over the province.


James Kyr4 copy

The College of Arts and Science, psychology, third year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

It’s the only time to, you know, study, do what I didn’t get done. I’m thinking of traveling, maybe going to Winnipeg to meet my relatives.

Do you have any holiday season traditions?

Yes. I celebrate the birth of Jesus every December, so it has become a tradition for me to go to church on Christmas Day.

Is there anything general you’d like to say about the holiday season?

I’d like to tell students to celebrate it within certain limits. New Year’s [Eve] is more important than Christmas, because you are in a different year and you can do things that are different from last year. It’s more important than Christmas in terms of celebrating and having fun.


Gabriel Siriamy Linares7 copy

The College of Arts and Science, third year.

What does the winter break mean to you?

It means, you know, the end of classes, then just having time to relax with family and friends.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

For Christmas, [my family] all comes together in one single place. We rent a place and just spend time together, exchanging gifts.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

It was probably when I got new rollerblades. I think I was 15.

What’s your favourite part about the holiday season?

It’s my favorite time of year. I like going to the different stores and seeing all the Christmas decorations. Also, the smell of cookies and all those kinds of Christmas foods.

Photos: Caitlin Taylor / photo editor