Autumn falls away and winter sets in, leaving college students with fresh snowfall, warm beverages and finals. While studying in Olin’s comfy couches with a cup of hot chocolate can be pretty cozy, there are other ways students can take advantage of the holiday season and take a break from the books.
- Kemper Kickback
Kemper Kickbacks are hosted by the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum during busy times of the semester to promote stress relieving breaks. Students are treated to an array of delicious snacks to fuel creative energy fuel before diving into an array of creative arts and craftsy activities.
- Garden Glow
Garden Glow is a light experience put on every year by the Missouri Botanical Gardens at the holiday (finals) season. It is a finals tradition for me. Students are eligible for discounted tickets and transportation so it’s both easy and affordable – if you can track down where the tabeling is going on! The entire garden is bright, vibrant, and colorful. Visitors walk in different parts of the gardens, traveling through glittering worlds of lights in sugary gumdrop hues and holiday music, glisten like melting icicles in vibrant crayon box colors, or drape around fraser fir allowing the fresh scents of winter evergreens entertain the senses. Not only this, but it’s a favorite places to get a hot chocolate and make smores.
- Zoo Lights
Zoo lights is hosted every year by the St. Louis Zoo, another way to get a holiday light filled wonderland fix. The zoo’s winding walkways are animal themed, a tree that glows brighter when you talk to it (cute), and several places to stop to roast marshmallows over a fire pit. Another favorite place to get hot chocolate and make smores, I have a routine at zoo lights: forget my gloves as an excuse to buy a large steaming hot chocolate as a hand warmer and finish off the evening with one… or two… or more…smores. Burning a crispy charcoal crust on the marshmallows-optional.
The DUC has a fabulous array of ways to wind down to winter break. My two favorites are long term staples: Tuesday Tea and DUC’n Donuts. Tuesday Tea happens each, wait for it…Tuesday during the semester but there is something about the combination of tea and pastries that is so much sweeter in the cool and slow air as we head towards winter break. DUC’n Donuts is the first Friday of every month, so doesn’t always land during finals but it’s worth it regardless. Free donuts, rubber ducks, and coffee in the morning. Is there a better way to start the day that ends the week?
- St. Louis Events
Another activity that I like doing as a break during finals is get off-campus to explore local holiday traditions. I mostly find these by following local businesses and their events. This year I went to Bowood and Cafe Osage during their Christmas tree sale. They offered smores and cider as folks sorted through the fragrant trees and greenery. The fire was roaring and filled with large pillows of sugar roasting to a golden crisp exterior before being slid off into a bed of chocolate and graham crackers. Oh, and we didn’t even have to purchase a tree!