When thinking of the Christmas season, thoughts of shopping downtown for my family, catching up with friends over coffee and surrounding myself with the people

I love come to mind. This year was different. As MSU students made the trip back to their various homes for the holidays, COVID-19 numbers continued to soar nationwide, and everyone was urged to stay home and stay safe.

This break, the pandemic held us captive in our homes and urged us to stay inside and away from large groups. This resulted in one of the biggest bummers, which was having to stay away from friends from back home after being away all semester. COVID-19 also made it harder to get into the Christmas spirit because there was no caroling, no Christmas parades and not nearly enough baked goods from elderly neighbors.

Although we were urged to stay home during this time, making winter break less than ideal, there were also plenty of perks. We got to spend lots of time with our families, and I know all of our parents were excited to have us home, raiding the pantry and leaving a trail of dirty dishes around the house. Our pets were also pleased, and took advantage of our presence by demanding lots of walks and treats.

COVID-19 also gave us all more time to binge-watch the “Mandalorian” and FaceTime our friends to talk about how cute “Baby Yoda” is, or re-watch the entire “Lord of the Rings” series.

Luckily, COVID-19 didn’t keep us completely inside, and many outdoor activities were still calling us. A much-needed break from studying allowed us to spend our time hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating and so much more.

As our break has come to an end, I think it is important to remember all of the good things that it brought, although the complications of COVID-19 were surely felt. Hopefully, winter break helped all students gain some momentum for another great semester at MSU.

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