CSU reacts: What do the holidays mean to you?

Nick Botkin

Holiday lights brighten Old Town Fort Collins
CSU students say the holidays offer opportunities for reflection and cheer, but also for mourning (Photo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Collegian)

Holidays hold their own unique meanings for people. For some, they may evoke time-honored rituals and cheer. For others, they are wellsprings of darkness. Others fall somewhere in between.

Colorado State University students are no exception.


For Olivia McKinzie, a freshman psychology major, the holidays are about connection.

“It is to be with friends and family and appreciate where I am at,” McKinzie said.

Others also view the holidays as a period of reflection. Jay Kailey, a senior biomedical sciences major, enjoys spending time with friends and family.

“It is a time to reflect and gather and remember how lucky you are to be where you are,” Kailey said.

Tanner Marshall, a senior rangeland ecology major, referred to the holidays as a “double-edged sword.”

“I look forward to the food and seeing my family,” Marshall said. Marshall added that the celebrations are not grounded in religious or spiritual context.

“It is an excuse to prepare fancy food and celebrate,” Marshall said.

 At the same time, family also makes him “apprehensive.”

“Seeing family can be challenging,” Marshall said.



Other students need a simple piece of mind.

“It is just a good little escape back home,” said Ben Jorgenson, a sophomore media journalism and communications major.


 Other CSU students said that the holidays have become infused with cynicism.

“I think a lot of people forget to be thankful,” Kailey said.

Kailey said that gathering together offers opportunities.

“Getting together for a meal is a great way to be thankful,” Kailey said.

For Marshall, commercialization is the inherent problem.

“It is exploiting that which has deeper significance to many,” Marshall said.

Marshall said the key to combating the cynicism is personal connections.

“Focusing on the more communal aspects as opposed to the objects that are given and received,” Marshall said.

Some students think the cynicism is not an issue.

“I think people get cynical because of the stress,” said Brooke Pottinger, a sophomore human development and family studies major.

Pottinger said people are generally pumped up about the holidays.

Pottinger said “I think most people are excited to go home.” 

Holiday Fun Facts:

  • Chanukah occurs over eight days and nights. It celebrates the triumph over the Maccabees, or Israelites, over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus.
  • December 25 was originally a pagan celebration, connected to the winter solstice.
  • Kwanzaa started in 1966. Initiated by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the holiday was meant to pay tribute African culture and inspire African-Americans.

Collegian news reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @dudesosad.