There is something nice about taking photos near the Buntrock evergreens and something even more nice about those sweaters that take our campus by storm annually.
Fine, I'll admit it: I have a little thing for old people.
Before you judge, hear me out. We all complain time after time about the lines and the crowd, especially in the Caf. I'm guilty of it too, but in actuality, I secretly embrace the one-hour-plus dinner. I love the look of the 75-year-old man as he politely asks for his ham, and his wife that stands right beside him. Where else can we find such a genuine couple, full of joy and comfort?
I heard a story the other day about a couple that has been to every Christmas Fest for 56 years running. 56! Take my age, multiply it by three and subtract four if you're a math person or someone looking to put that great figure into perspective. That couple, we know, wouldn't miss it for the world. That means something, especially on a campus that often seems isolated. To go to something for 56 years suggests that that something is a part of you and everything you represent. For this couple, that something is the St. Olaf student and experience.
I can't sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to save my life. I do know, however, several people that can, and it is them we must thank for making Christmas time at St. Olaf a truely memorable tradition. Without them, there would be no old people, no joy, no comfort. There would be no lutefisk, no 56-year-old tradition.
But the Christmas Fest celebration is about more than music. Christmas time at St. Olaf is our last chance to interact with those that matter most to us. The finals crunch soon will hit (or for many, it already has) and at this point, we'd rather not speak to anyone unless their name begins with "professor."
Then we go to our real homes, visit family and share the Ole tradition with our closest counterparts. Before long, we yearn for our walk to Old Main and the several "hellos" that accompany our journey to either close friends or mere acquaintances.
Those "hellos" are comforting. Over Interim, however, those encounters disappear because, well, we have a well-respected International Studies department. The small talk may seem insignificant and perhaps over the top, but these moments allow for us to develop a St. Olaf anthology of our peers and their stories - why we know certain people and how knowing our "hello" buddies reinforces why our walk to Old Main is more than a walk to class.
As the finals crunch hits, lets not forget about those that matter most - either your closest friends or those that seem to care even though you think they shouldn't.