Many students and their families take winter break as an opportunity to unwind and reconnect with family by taking some time away from home. Everyone has different traditions that they follow during winter break to finish up the year and bring in the new one. Sophomore Isabel Herrera and her parents will be visiting her parents’ hometown, La Purisima, Mexico. Junior Julia Rusiecki and her mother will be driving to Nashville, Tennessee to visit their uncles and cousins. Senior Luciana Casucci and her family will be visiting their grandparents in Wisconsin. Although each one is different, they all find their own unique ways to relax and enjoy their winter break.
Sophomore: Isabel Herrera
Since she can remember, Isabel Herrera has always associated Christmas with Mexico. This year will be the 15th year she visits her family’s hometown, La Purisima. Given that she has her own house, she goes pretty often, but not only during winter break. The last time she went was this summer, just five months ago.
She has been visiting La Purisima every year since she was born. Usually, she goes three times a year; she goes for spring break, during the summer, and during winter break. In the past, she has gotten to Mexico, either by driving, by bus, or by flying. When it comes to winter break, Isabel and her family usually drive to Mexico, but this year, they will be flying.
She says that her favorite part about winter break is not having to go to school, but also being able to see family during the holidays. She loves going to Mexico because of the amount of freedom she has, along with being able to ride her quad around the town. For two weeks she is going to be spending as much time as she can with her family and friends that live over there.
Going to Mexico is something that Isabel really enjoys, but she still has to take precautions every time she visits. She always makes sure that she is never alone whenever she walks through the town, which is never a problem, seeing as she spends most of her time with her close family and friends.
When Isabel was around 12 years old, she and her friends witnessed a young boy doing graffiti, and later breaking the window with the empty bottle. The police were called, and although they did nothing wrong, they started chasing Isabel and her friends around the town, until the police eventually gave up. “I still see those same officers whenever I go and they’re always giving me dirty looks,” Isabel said.
Whenever she goes to Mexico during winter break, she and her family take old clothes and any other items that they don’t need or want anymore to donate. She and her family like giving back to people, especially on Christmas day, because they think everyone deserves something, no matter how trivial it may be.
Junior: Julia Rusiecki
For the past five years, Julia Rusiecki has been going to Nashville, Tennessee during winter break to celebrate Christmas with her uncles and cousins. This year, she and her mother decided to switch it up. They will be visiting from December 28th to January 2nd, to celebrate New Year’s over there instead.
After an eight hour drive, she is going to arrive at her aunt and uncle’s house. They live in the suburbs of Nashville, along with some of Julia’s close cousins. Celebrating New Year’s with her family is something new, but she is still looking forward to it since she hasn’t seen her family since the summer.
Julia says that her favorite part about winter break is not having to worry about school work. She enjoys having the time off, and she also enjoys seeing her family on Christmas. Before they moved, she used to see her cousins every month, and she hasn’t seen them for a while, so she’s excited to reconnect with them.
She also enjoys going to Nashville during her winter break, because she loves being in a different environment and she enjoys the new scenery. Julia and her mother love exploring the city, and they love shopping and looking through the stores. “Out of all the stores my mom and I have gone to, my favorites are the small vintage and antique shops,” Julia said.
Her uncles moved to Nashville just four years ago, so before that, Julia and her mother would spend Christmas in Manhattan, a village in Illinois. Since it was only an hour away, Juli and her mother would visit pretty often. She doesn’t go to Nashville as often, but since it is farther away, she stays for a longer amount of time whenever she goes.
Senior: Luciana Casucci
For Luciana Casucci and her family, it has been a tradition to go to Wisconsin during winter break for many years. They will be staying with their grandparents for three days, like they do every time they go. Luciana, her parents, and her younger sister, Annabella, always look forward to going to Wisconsin, visiting their family, and also being able to relax.
They will be celebrating Christmas in Addison, and will then be driving to Wisconsin a couple of days later. They don’t mind the three-hour drive at all, because, on top of having a change of scenery, they get to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. Since it is only a three-hour drive, they visit pretty often.
Luciana and her family visit Wisconsin at least five times a year. Whether it is a short break or a long weekend, they try to go whenever they have the chance. Sometimes, Luciana and her sister are allowed to invite some of their close friends to stay with them. They can also invite some of their cousins, with whom they are close. “I like inviting other people because it makes it a lot more fun and we basically get to go on a short vacation together,” said Luciana.
Luciana says that her favorite part about winter break is being able to relax and not think about school for two weeks. She loves all the free time she has and she enjoys being able to go to places like Wisconsin. Being able to be with her family during that time makes her winter break so much more enjoyable.
She is looking forward to doing all the fun activities that they only do when they go to Wisconsin. Whenever they go in the summer, they swim in the lake, have bonfires, and eat a lot of homemade food. Although going in the summer is really fun, Luciana’s favorite part about going in the winter is being able to go skiing. No matter where she is or what she is doing, her family and friends make her winter break as eventful as possible.