Ending 2020 in a jolly, cliché way


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

The 98th annual National Tree Lighting ceremony took place on Dec 3. and is on display until Jan. 1, 2021.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it becomes hard to know whether to do new things or to stick with the common clichés. Some of the more common activities during the holidays are to visit the national tree in D.C., make gingerbread houses, watch the movie Elf, and go see light shows. 

The National Tree, located in The Eclipse, attracts tourists from all over because of its beauty and example of patriotism. Each state has their own tree on display along with the national tree. The tree lighting ceremony took place on Dec. 3 and can be viewed at any time on www.thenationaltree.org. Senior Riya Kohli said, “My family and I go to the tree in D.C. every year. It is always beautifully lit and all the trees have really pretty decorations on them. It is definitely worth the trip down to D.C. to see it.”

Gingerbread houses are the symbol of December. Whether it is making the cookie parts from scratch or buying a premade kit, constructing houses is a fun, entertaining way to spend time with people during the holidays. Fighting to see who decorated their house better is a fun way to add competitiveness into the activity. Senior William Margarites said, “Every year we have a gingerbread decorating competition. It is always a pretty big deal, everyone gets really intense and into it. My mom and dad have their friends vote on who they think was the best once we are done.” 

Elf, a classic Christmas movie, is about Buddy (Will Ferrel) who was transported to the North Pole as a toddler and was raised among Santa and his elves. Unable to fit in with the elves, Buddy travels to New York City in search for his family. Never being in the “real world” before, Buddy struggles with fitting in all while trying to find his dad and create a connection with him. Elf, no matter how many times it is watched, will always provide comic relief (which is much needed in 2020). Although movie theaters are still closed, Elf can be watched on Amazon Prime Video. Kohli said, “Elf is one of the funniest movies I have ever watched. The movie takes you on an emotional rollercoaster but always manages to be funny and still show the importance of family and how happy the holidays make some people.”

Watching light shows is one of the best, most magical things to do during the holidays. The Winter Lights Festival, located in Seneca Creek State Park, opened on Nov. 27 and will be open until Dec. 31. Because of their Covid-friendly conditions with visitors viewing the light shows from their cars, the light show is able to be open again this year (except with no on-site ticket purchasing). While driving through the 3.5 mile park, visitors are presented with about 450 illuminated displays and decorated trees that light up the night. Margarites said, “I love going to the light shows and seeing people’s houses decorated as I’m driving. It really makes it feel like a normal holiday year.”