Season’s Greetings from Honors!

With finals approaching and the weather turning cold, we here on the fourth floor of the BHC decided it would be nice to share a little joy with you all before we enter the ring and battle those last few exams, portfolio reviews, presentations, and papers. Thanks to all who contributed, I’ve compiled a nice long list of traditions and winter pastimes of our honorable staff members. Enjoy! -KK

Winter Traditions:

Holly Blosser-Yoder- Advising Director

“As a child in my family of origin, and now as a parent, we take our time with the opening of gifts. We start by re-telling the Christmas story from memory, each person narrating a portion of the story before passing it on to the next person, and so the story is told piece by piece, in different voices, until we get to the wise men arriving with their gifts. The youngest child (currently Suzanna, in the elf costume) distributes the gifts, and then we open them one gift at a time, going around the circle again and again until all the gifts have been opened. If you get clothes or pajamas, you have to model them; if you get chocolates or nuts, you share them. After that–hopefully not too full of chocolate–we eat breakfast together.” -HBY

Sydney Hofferber- Honors Student Admin


Sydney Hofferber enjoys her family’s traditions on Christmas Eve. They eat Kraut Pockets (otherwise known as Cabbage Pockets or Kraut Bierok) and Carrot salad for dinner–one of her favorite meals of the year! Then her siblings always wear the PJs that their Grammy from Maryland sends for Christmas Eve and read The Night Before Christmas, even if they are a bit old for the picture book now.

Katie Kiesewetter- Honors Student Admin

“I love celebrating the holidays with my family! L: Christmas 1997 with my mom and brothers (and Santa, of course)  M: Christmas 2014 with my dad, brothers, and sister (who wasn’t born in time to witness those rad ’90s outfits) R: my partner and I cutting down our first tree together this year! (our house was bare last year because we were too lazy).

My favorite tradition is going to my grandma’s farm the Sunday before Christmas every year. As my cousins and I have gotten older, we stopped doing gift exchanges, but I always have more fun playing Euchre and catching up with everyone than opening presents. Other various winter hobbies include compulsively buying things, knitting, eating too much, and constantly reminding people that my birthday is two days after Christmas… Super important. December 27. Reason for the season.” -KK

Emily Johnson- Assessment Director

One of Emily’s favorite Christmas traditions is to watch movies. Be sure to add these gems to your watch list (your parents might even have them on VHS… I know I have a few):

“Sure, there are Christmas movies I love (It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Elf), and there are non-Christmas movies that take place at Christmas time, which I use the holidays as an excuse to watch (The Lion in WinterThe Shop Around the Corner).

But no holiday is complete for me until I watch the seasonally-related West Wing episodes. Even more than the Christmas episodes, I actually really love the Thanksgiving ones. But this time of year brings some great ones, too.

Of all the Christmas episodes, my favorite is from season one: In Excelsis Deo. I love any episode when Toby is a particularly excellent human being.” -EJ

The Joys of Winters Past:

Bob Kirby- Honors Associate Director & Director of ICRU


Please bask in the glory that is Bob Kirby at Christmas circa 1960 in Washington state.

Kelly Thornburg- Director of Scholar Development


Kelly shreds the bunny hills in Fairbanks, Alaska in the winter of 1979 with the most glorious fuzzy hood we’ve ever seen.

Holidays Featuring Furry Friends!:

Jessica Waldschmidt- Honors Program Coordinator & Communications Specialist

“I love playing in the snow with my dog [Maggie] and watching her unwrap presents.” -JW

See adorable doggy-ness by clicking here and here.

Emily Johnson- Assessment Director


This is Emily at five years old in the most amazing pleated red skirt with her dog Lizzie. She said they called her Dizzy Lizzy because she used to spin in circles. How cute is that?

Marina Gibbs- Honors Student Admin


Pictured above is Marina’s dog Eli after too many presents last Christmas.

“My favorite part of the holiday season is definitely being able to spend it with all the lovely humans, and the furry ones, in my life.” -MG

Monisa Saravanan- Honors Student Admin


Pictured above, Monisa’s adorable kitty, Pixie, playing in the snow.

“We don’t really have traditions, per se, but until I graduated from high school I’ve gone to Christmas mass every year. My mom told us that if we were going to celebrate the commercial aspect of Christmas, we needed to respect the religious aspect. I actually enjoyed going to Christmas mass because the churches were always so pretty, and I loved singing the Christmas carols and whatnot.” -MS

And we love Monisa’s kitten!

Whether you celebrate a holiday this season or are simply an appreciator of snow, hot chocolate, time with family & friends, fuzzy blankets, or window displays, we hope you all have a wonderful last week of school and a restful break from classes. See you next semester on Note to Self!

by Katie Kiesewetter, Junior

Areas of Study: English; Studio Art (Graphic Design); Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Farmington, IL


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