Art by Kevin Chan // Daily Nexus
Suspend reality for a moment and imagine Isla Vista as the place we all spend our winter holiday break. Imagine a universe where December through January meant staying in I.V. with our friends and fellow residents. What if, instead of seeing the relatives and spending an exorbitant amount of time laying on the couch while I.V. remains almost entirely silent, this town and the holiday season somehow became intertwined in some sort of “Home Alone” meets “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas” unfolding?
I think this place would be an especially rad environment to spend the holidays for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the fact that that it is a taboo to many people to spend the holidays somewhere tropical (See “Christmas With the Kranks”). However, there’s no need to worry about this shaming when that tropical place is your backyard. There is no need to stress over what others think about you as you sunbathe in a Santa hat; you simply decided to stick around the neighborhood for the holidays. A guilt free winter break spent on the gorgeous central coast sounds OK by me. While we’re at it, why not deck out our little beach town to represent each holiday being observed? Isla Vista done up with everything from illuminated Diwali Rangoli decorations to gigantic inflated Santa Clauses, from DP to El Colegio, would make everyone forget all about that red cup campaign Starbucks used to try to, er, annihilate Christmas. Think kegs covered in lights, bikes donning wreathes and off-key carolers who look strangely like your neighbors.
I love my family and I’m guessing you probably love some of yours too, but it’s undeniable that a whole month without classes, interspersed with different holiday festivities, would allow for the fattest of ragers.
Now let’s talk parties. Everybody loves a good holiday party, right? Even if it’s your parents ultra republican friends who declare Donald Trump is the answer to the United States’ problem after three too many mugs of hard egg nog, right? Wrong. What about when you have to explain why you’ve changed your major to each and every member of your family as the night goes on, that’s the best part, right? No, it’s not. Think about how things would go if you hosted the party in your already overpopulated I.V. dwelling: way less longing for your childhood days where you didn’t at all see through the commercialization of the holiday season, and way more getting down with all your friends in your ugly sweaters. If we are talking strictly celebrations, I think it is safe to say I.V. does it best. I love my family and I’m guessing you probably love some of yours too, but it’s undeniable that a whole month without classes, interspersed with different holiday festivities, would allow for the fattest of ragers.
Apart from getting to forget about things like seasons and the weather during the traditional winter holiday time, the thought of everyone in I.V. sticking around to celebrate their respective holidays makes for a pretty interesting daydream for a few other reasons. I’ll be the first to admit this article, while I tried to remain as neutral and inclusive as I could, clearly comes from someone who has only celebrated Christmas. This is because I know hardly enough about the other holidays aside from Christmas that occur between November and February. Now, think of our community all sticking around to celebrate whatever holiday their heritage, faith or traditions called for. Quite a learning experience would come from nearly a month off with several different holidays observed, in such a physically and emotionally close smattering of crowded houses and apartments (not to mention some uniquely enriching parties).
Instead of students like myself looking forward to Christmas and only Christmas, everyone would be exposed to winter holidays they probably know nothing about. Last year under these fantasy circumstances, I likely would have learned something about the Iranian-American Holiday Yalda just by hanging out with my roommate like I would anyways, and I’m sure thousands of other people in I.V. would have expanded their cultural horizons just a bit more.
I am not making the argument that all students being held captive in I.V. over the holidays for some strange, unexplained reason is a good thing. A world where students can’t return home for their respective holidays is not one I want to live in, but staying around for the holidays wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for I.V. No matter what you’re doing or where you’re going or not going for the holidays, keep in mind the image of this little place through the lens of every single holiday you can conjure at once. Because how fucking crazy would that be? Happy Holidays!
Jackson Kerr will be dreaming of the holidays in I.V. during his food-induced comas this winter break.