Decking the halls with Philadelphia family

Before going home for the holidays, students celebrate with each other.

Before going home for the holidays, students celebrate with each other.

Despite the stress of finals, students at Temple haven’t seem to forgotten that it’s also time for cookies, decorations and celebrating the holidays with friends.

On Main Campus, students like university studies sophomore Mercedes Lewis try to celebrate with friends before the break.

“Since our friend group consists of around 10 people, and we’re all starving college students, we’re doing Secret Santa for gifts,” Lewis said. “Next Sunday, right before finals, we’re going to have a potluck holiday celebration, with lots of cookies and exchange all of our gifts.”

Lewis and her friends started celebrating as soon as December arrived.

“Since it was Dec. 1, we had a The Santa Clause watching party. Last year, we watched it at least a zillion times. It was just on 24/7 in our rooms,” Lewis said. “So we kicked off the Christmas season by restarting our insane obsession.”

It’s convenient to make plans with friends on campus, but keeping in touch with friends from home can be difficult during the school year. Before the holidays though, some students make sure to put the extra effort into making plans to catch up.

“Every year for Thanksgiving, a bunch of my girl friends from high school make a Facebook message [thread] between all of us and pick a day over break that we all, or most of us, can get together to go to someone’s house or go out to dinner,” junior advertising major Lydia Marsh said.

This year, Marsh traveled home to Nazareth, Pa., to meet eight of her friends who were able to get together the same night.

“Only some of us constantly keep in contact during school,” she said, “so it’s a nice time to catch up with everyone, and we always have a good time, like we’re still in high school.”

During longer breaks from school during winter and summer vacations, Marsh and her friends from Temple consistently make the effort to get together, too.

“This year for New Years, we are planning on all coming back to Philly to go out to the bars together,” she said. “With my three roommates, we always get together at one of our houses during breaks and hangout with each others’ friends from home.”

Freshman advertising major Becky Festa also anticipates spending time with her friends when she heads back home to Aston, Pa. Festa and her friends get together to drive around town, playing Christmas music and looking at houses lit up for the holidays.

“It seems like a really simple and not-that-exciting tradition, but it always ends up being really fun,” Festa said. “There is one house that we always look forward to [seeing] because it is always decked out in Christmas decorations, lights everywhere. You can’t even see the house. Everyone in my town always drives by that house at least once every Christmas just to see the lights.”

As a freshman, Festa knows she’ll appreciate the time off from school to see her friends again during the holidays.

“My friends are really special to me,” she said. “And since everyone usually has to spend holidays with their families, it’s just really cool to be able to take time to just spend it with my friends that I love.”

Lara Strayer can be reached at

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