School is out for Christmas break and students age 5 through 25 suddenly find themselves with days of free time less scheduled events. Although many families have weeks of additional time with one another, each passes the time differently. Take it slow Sara Lundberg of McPherson prefers to be as relaxed as possible during the holiday season. “That’s the most fun to us, to be together and hang out,” she said. She and her son, along with other relatives, enjoy making and decorating cookies, doing crafts, watching movies and playing outside. They also make an annual trek to Lindsborg for a Swedish meal, as her father is of that heritage. “It’s just kind of whatever we feel like doing, it’s kind of random,” she said. As Christmas approaches, the two count down the days until Christmas with construction paper rings, which helps with the holiday anticipation. Her son and Lundberg’s nieces and nephews enjoy the freedom Christmas break allows. “They like having the vacation time,” she said.
Traveling to family Laura Stapleton, from the Kansas City area, travels to McPherson every year to celebrate Christmas with her parents and siblings. She has three children younger than 5, and they are beginning to understand the excitement of the season. “This is the first year it’s been that way because they’re old enough to get it,” she said. Her children have helped her wrap presents, decorate the tree and assist with some baking. Business varies depending on the day. “Sometimes we fill it, sometime we just need a night of doing nothing,” said Stapleton. Regardless, most of their additional free time is spent with relatives. “We’re just all family, all the time, whether it’s Christmastime or not,” she said. Seeing old friends Ethan Wagoner, 19, and Craig Archer, 22, both graduates of McPherson High School, are on break from attending school at Kansas State University. Wagoner is planning on a short trip, required for one of his classes. The remaining days he makes a point to work and catch up with friends. “(Break is) a lot different, because during the year I’m playing music constantly, and I get here I don’t have to,” he said. “It’s nice. It’s very relaxing.” Archer said he watches movies, plays music and reads, but doesn’t like to sit and do nothing. The roommates say the highlight of their break is reconnecting with friends from high school. “I always talk to them on the phone or the Internet, but when I get here, I’ve got to see my friends,” Archer said. “We’ll get back together, and we have the same inside jokes, and it’s like nothing’s changed,” Archer said. Most of the activities they do with their friends are unplanned. “This is home, so you’re seeing people you’re more comfortable with, that you’ve known forever. At school, you see people, and we’re so busy, we just see people in and out,” Archer said. Other ideas The Family Education website has several suggestions for parents looking for some entertaining ideas for their children. These include winter-themed crafts, reading, games, movies, playing outside, bowling, volunteering, touring museums, ice skating, attending a sports game or other activities. Collegeparents.org gives suggestions for parents with children home from college. Some advice is to: allow them sufficient sleep time to catch up from late nights; discuss online classes, a temporary job or an internship if the student is interested; encourage meeting with current high school students for discussions about college; or organize volunteer efforts. The site said it is important to help college students determine what or how much they want to accomplish during break.