To us, the holiday season is a time to look back on the year and find gratitude in many things, great and small. School is finally winding down (except for those crazed few weeks in which professors are thinking they’re helping out by giving the exam a week early, when actually all the professors seem to do that) and while the weather outside is frightful, the relief of a long semester closing is so delightful. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or nothing at all, it’s nice to reflect on the year before it becomes only a distant memory. And it’s a time of the year when it’s not terribly cheesy to reflect on gratitude of all forms – the genuine, banal or eccentric.
So, the staff here at The Big Green decided to let our gentle readers in on what we\’re thankful for, or at least what the holiday season means to us. It\’s our sugar cookies and eggnog to you, since we can\’t send sweets over the Internet just yet. Start up the holiday music and put another log on the fire- it’s that time of year again.

One Very Thankful 80s Hair Band Enthusiast
By Ashley Symons, Assistant Editor and Nigel Tufnel Lover
[apic]As I reflect on 2005, here are some of the things I\’m grateful for:
First semester is over!! It\’s been a real challenge, but I made it.
My housemates. Even though all 12 of us don\’t always get along, I appreciate the things we do together.
Beaner\’s coffee. I love that place.
Water. It makes up 80 percent of my body, and it\’s 100 percent delicious.
Study abroad. I\’m glad I attend a university that prides itself on widening students\’ experiences.
My iPod mini. So it\’s not the 60-gig video one or whatever that thing is, but it keeps me occupied on those very cold walks to and from class.
Free access to a washer and dryer. As I stare at the huge mound of clothes on my floor, I\’m quite thankful I don\’t have to dig for quarters.
Having supportive people in my life. Ya\’lls are the best.
I don\’t have a car, but I have legs. And they work great.
My education. However, I\’ll be making loan payments until I\’m 80.
A campus job…that doesn\’t involve the caf. WRC, you rock my world.
A warm house. My room is seriously about 90 degrees. I could actually use a little less heat.
That you\’re not only reading The Big Green, but that you\’ve read this whole list. Keep up the good work, you\’re almost done!
My ability to ask questions of the world and to get answers…most of the time. Yay journalists.
Discovering the movie Spinal Tap. I have a huge crush on Nigel.
The holidays. I\’m a sucker for Christmas music, egg nog and yuletide. That being said, I wish you all a Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/etc. and a Happy New Year!

What’s Our Savior for the Season? MSU Basketball…
By Shannon Hoffman, State Side Editor and Eternal Cheerleader
[shpic]Thank the Lord Spartan football season is over. After a season of disappointment and crushed hopes, it’s time for that other large dome on campus to take center stage. That’s right, the Breslin Center, with Izzo’s men’s basketball and McCallie’s women’s basketball team. At least those teams win games. And don’t call me a fan that doesn’t support her team when they are down. After sleeping outside Spartan Stadium, in the cold and on cement for the MSU vs. U of M game, I would consider myself pretty supportive. I might even go so far as to say devoted. And what have John L.’s guys done for me? Well, for one thing, they’ve shown me Drew Stanton does not deserve a Heisman – so take off those shirts.
Maybe it’s time for a new sport. A friend of mine who works at IM West said she saw two football players come in Sunday to play basketball. They know what time it is and so do I. To me, March Madness begins in November when I get to bob up and down in my green and white Izzone T-shirt bellowing “Ohhh” from the upper deck of the Breslin. I can’t wait to watch Mo keep hitting those threes, Davis knock the trash from other teams away from the hoop and Shannon rack up the points. By the way, Shannon – we have the same name. Don’t you think that would make a cute couple? Two Shannons? I’ll look him up on Facebook and make sure he’s single.

Moon Boots and Marshmallows
By Caitlin Dobson, Global View Editor and Roving Nomad
[cpic]With all this talk of Christmas cookies and peppermint filling my ears and olfactory subconscience, I can’t help but stop and try to remind myself of what the holidays are really about.
Of course it’s about various religious beliefs, stringing lights around the tree, watching your uncle fall asleep in front of the television after dinner, sharing plans for New Year\’s resolutions, exchanging gifts and ignoring the fact that you\’re dreading the start of spring semester. But aside from the collaboration of holiday blessings (or annoyances) to show appreciation for, what really matters to me?
Here I sit paying tribute on a holiday that has been turned into an economic free-for-all fueled by companies aiming to boost sales and people scrambling for the biggest gift sales on the market only to be let down by their first unwrapping of socks and underwear. So aside from the irony of the season, I guess there are a few other things to acknowledge and be thankful for.
For one, I’m grateful for normal winter boots, hiking boots, galoshes, even moon boots-any kind of boot that isn’t one of those God-awful Ugg(ly) Boots. Yeah, sorority girls, I said it. What.
As for things that matter, I’m thankful for MSU and all the opportunities college has to offer. I’m thankful for the ability to travel-to get on a plane and be within an entirely new place, new culture, new mindset within a matter of hours. I’m thankful for disaster relief, homeless shelters, foreign adoption, any medical advancement in the cure for AIDS or cancer, diversity, free speech…and yams. You know, the kind with that layer of gooey marshmallow on top? Those are good.
But most of all, I appreciate that you’re even reading what this rag tag group of editors thinks. Besides, do you really care about a bunch of journalists’ opinions anyway?
I didn’t think so.

The Holiday Season, Mezzo Forte
By Molly Benningfield, Arts & Culture Editor and Office Supply Geek
[mpic]I start listening to Christmas music right after Thanksgiving (or in this year’s case, right before, wanting a reprieve from the intrusion of silly papers.) I have six different copies of “Carol of the Bells” on my iTunes, part of the 185-song holiday-themed playlist that ranges from Hanson to The Jackson 5 to Bing (of course) to Otis Redding.
I can’t wait to exchange gifts with my seven friends (yep, that’s all I have) for our Secret Santa tradition that started freshman year at MSU. I can’t wait to pick out a tree with my family and decorate it, all while listening to A Sesame Street Christmas vinyl on our old record player. You could say I have a pretty healthy obsession with the holiday season, bordering on slight insanity.
In a time of thanks and holiday wishes, I’ve reflected on what has made me happy and what I’m truly appreciative of:
Jon Stewart– The man still provides me with the best news source.
The insulation strips around the doors of my house– Now I can stop layering with five sweatshirts.
Those who don’t steal the left-handed desks from me.
Grammar– I love words and semi-colons and commas. Did I mention that I’ve been a geek my whole life?
Learning– Even if it does have to involve my horrible journalism and Spanish classes this semester. I can’t help it- I’m the daughter of two teachers.
Post-It notes– Not the kind Romy and Michele invented, but the ones that are all over my bulletin board, desk and computer. I love lists!
Downtown Grand Rapids in December.
Cheap, local concerts– Maybe I should define that as good concerts. But what I’m not thankful for is that I’m not 21, so I have to pay more.
English Breakfast tea– Just add a touch of milk, and I can drink it everyday.
And finally, the thought that Dubya will be out of office in just about two years– Bloc Party’s “Two More Years” holds a special place in my heart right about now.

Of Ballpoints and Creme Pies
By Michael Evans, Sex & Health Editor and Cuisine Connoisseur
[mipic]I\’m thankful for the cheapo ballpoint pen. There\’s always something to be said about the nice ballpoint, with their retractablility (no caps!) and their high-quality, easy to read ink. But I suck, you guys. I can\’t hold on to any office equipment for more than a week or so, with massive tape rolls disappearing into thin air from my desktop. People like me don\’t deserve a good pen. So I appreciate that someone out there doesn\’t trust me enough that they would produce 100-pen bundles for $2.00. And good for Papermate and Bic for realizing that I can\’t be trusted with anything of value.
I\’m thankful for quite possibly the most cost-efficient food, the Oatmeal Creme Pie. As far as sweet snacks go, they are unobtrusive enough to slide between meals to feel not full, but pleasantly satisfied. And you can get a pound of them! For a dollar! Granted, they\’re not all that tasty and I would hardly say I\’ve ever really craved an Oatmeal Creme Pie, but I can\’t help but awe at its delicious, delicious price.
I\’m also thankful for portable fans, highly processed peanut butter, cheap sushi, \”Natural\” (right) Ruffles, beans and rice, chocolate Teddy Grahams, and pepperoni.
Oh, and my friends and family and stuff.

No Peace Fairies, But At Least I\’m Not Crying
By Sarah Hunko, Editor-in-Chief and Occaisional Optimist
[]Sometimes people call me a sap, others might refer to me as \’that crying hippie.\’ I can get pretty emotional and heated when I think about all that is wrong in this world (a short list might include mass social injustices, Wal-Mart, greedy industries, dying children, etc., etc.). And while I consider it healthy to keep a critical eye on pressing issues in our world in order to change them, sometimes I just have to loosen up. Maybe it\’s the spiked eggnog or the hypnotizing Christmas lights on my street, but I am finding myself in a bit of an optimistic haze lately. I’m not having visions of sugar plum fairies bringing food and peace to children around the world just yet, but I have been thinking about what is truly good and worth fighting for in life. So, here’s what I’m thankful for this season, and always.
I’m grateful for my grandmother’s tamales and our tradition of making 300 every year at Christmas; The Boondocks on TV because it’s bad-ass; my health; my crappy but fuel-efficient Geo that has gotten me from many-a-point-A-to-B; Africa and the opportunity to visit its land and people, and for all the lessons that followed and will follow; having parents who told me when I was a chubby little girl with glasses that I could do whatever I wanted in life; not having to pay a landlord (co-ops rule); my right to choose as a woman – while it still exists; singing my heart out (if journalism doesn’t work out I can always fall back on being a lounge lizard, right?) and old friends that remind me how I got to be who I am and new ones that make me want to be even better.
And while I\’m high on optimism (and before my buzz wears off)I might as well say what I’m really thankful for: the truth that any or many of us can change the world – any day, and everyday.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice and New Year from The Big Green. Now go share your gushy or ridiculous thanks with someone else, too. Best Wishes.

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