Winter Break Tradition

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Seasonal holidays are often expected by many students all around the world for a reason. Planned academic breaks that usually accompany such holidays have a nearly extreme importance for students, teachers, and even school administrations alike. While the prime reason for that is generally practical, to prepare school buildings and assets to new academic semester or year, seasonal breaks also provide an efficient reboot for the schools’ intellectual resources, students and staff in particular. Winter break, in this regard brings an additional special meaning. As the winter break usually takes place during the Christmas and New Year holidays, it allows many young people and their teachers to think over their success and losses during the previous semester, and start a new one refreshed and ready for greater achievements.

The Traditional Break from School

Despite a seemingly long story, winter breaks, like other seasonal breaks, in fact, do not have a long history. Winter breaks at schools and university have only become legal and officially implemented into the educational system only by the late 19th century in the United States. Prior to 1870s, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were not considered a family holiday. It was rather the time of the year when people were supposed to be kind to each other and switch their societal roles. For students, it meant taking authority in classes instead of teachers and sharing their knowledge with each other as well as younger generations (Coon). As the United States grew economically and more children started attending schools, the education system experienced a slight change in a form of additional seasonal breaks that came on popular holidays at the time, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. While that had a strong economic basis, holiday breaks were also some of the first signs of student-centered education as they allowed students to refresh their intellectual potential and even physical health on many levels.

Taking a prolonged rest from classes is very useful and beneficial for students and school staff due to a multitude of aspects, in fact. One of the prime arguments for winter holiday breaks is that they are not only beneficial for students, but are also plainly reasonable. Winter holidays usually take place right in the middle of a school year, which is a great time to stop intense learning and reflect on the acquired knowledge. It might not happen consciously; however, information that students learned throughout the semester becomes more organized and sorted in their brains after some rest.  Another great aspect of the mid-semester break relies upon an optimal temporal space for planning. Winter holidays are a time for New Year’s Resolutions and overall planning for a year. For students, that will inevitably involve academic planning for the next semester (“The Importance of Winter Break”). Hence, the winter break serves as a sort of mental reboot for students. The similar notion applies for the school and college staff, who take a rest from their work, plan, and self-reflect as well.

By taking a long pause, students and school staff can also improve their physical health. Winter break is a reasonable and efficient time for winter walks, home exercise, yoga, and other physical activity. At the same time, as experience shows, winter breaks, similarly to other seasonal breaks can be used as an effective temporal space for preventive practices against chronic and even viral diseases. A research by Jeremy F. Huckins and colleagues (2020) researched the effects of seasonal breaks accompanied by physical activity in students on COVID-19 prevention and treatment. The study demonstrated a lower transmission level in students due to social isolation as well as sufficient prevention potential due to cardiovascular exercises students practiced at home (Huckins et al. e20185). Hence, given a proper approach, winter breaks can save life and well-being of younger generations.

Conclusion

Winter break is considered a festive period for school and university students throughout many cultures for a rather good reason. A mid-year rest lasting a week or, in some cases, two provides students with time to rest mentally and physically, thus, refreshing their potential and preparing them for the next semester on many levels. Aside from that, winter breaks in their modern form stimulate youth to spend time with their families and socialize in order to return to studies rested and satisfied. Finally, winter breaks, with a proper approach can serve as a sufficient preventive period for chronic and even some viral disease, for a great rest improves and enhances immune system while physical activity practiced during the period can additionally stimulate the students’ cardiovascular system.

Works Cited

Coon, Brandon. “Holiday Tradition Research: Winter Break.” Bulb, 20 Mar. 2016, https://www.bulbapp.com/u/holiday-tradition-research-winter-break.

Huckins, Jeremy F, et al. “Mental Health and Behavior of College Students during the Early Phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Smartphone and Ecological Momentary Assessment Study.” Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 22, no. 6, 2020, https://doi.org/10.2196/20185.

“The Importance of Winter Break.” The MoCo Student, 25 Nov. 2017, http://mocostudent.org/2017/11/the-importance-of-winter-break/.

June 07, 2022
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