12 Times Hogwarts Was The Most Magical Place During The Holidays

School may not seem like the ideal place to spend the holidays, but it is if that school is Hogwarts — because, as all Potterheads know — Hogwarts is the most magical place during the holidays. Winter is already a magical time, and it brought out the truly charming and mysterious sides to an already enchanted school. It’s obvious why Hogwarts felt like a true home for Harry Potter when you read about his lovely Christmases there. He left the depressing celebrations of Privet Drive in the past and discovered a whole new world of Christmas joy (though the Dursleys still sent him some horrible Christmas presents just to remind him how little fun they were around the holidays).

Once the semester drew to a close and students began thinking of the holidays, Hogwarts turned into a winter wonderland. I don’t think it would be possible to hate the holidays at a school like this, because everything from the grounds to the food suddenly turned festive. Sadly, we can’t all live at Hogwarts for the duration of the holiday season, but if you love both Christmas and Harry Potter, you can always re-read and re-watch the story to remind yourself of all the times Hogwarts was truly magical during the holidays. Here are some of the highlights.

The Decorations In The Great Hall

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"The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all around the walls, and no less than twelve towering Christmas trees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Decorations In Classrooms

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"Inside the castle, there was a buzz of Christmas in the air. Professor Flitwick, the Charms teacher, had already decorated his classroom with shimmering lights that turned out to be real, fluttering fairies."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Empty Gryffindor Common Room

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"Once the holidays had started, Ron and Harry were having too good a time to think much about Flamel. They had the dormitory to themselves and the common room was far emptier than usual, so they were able to get the good armchairs by the fire. They sat by the hour eating anything they could spear on a toasting fork — bread, English muffins, marshmallows — and plotting ways of getting Malfoy expelled, which were fun to talk 159 about even if they wouldn't work."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

When Harry Received The Invisibility Cloak

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"Harry looked down at his feet, but they were gone. He dashed to the mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just his head suspended in midair, his body completely invisible. He pulled the cloak over his head and his reflection vanished completely.

'There's a note!' said Ron suddenly. 'A note fell out of it!'

Harry pulled off the cloak and seized the letter. Written in narrow, loopy writing he had never seen before were the following words: Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

When Harry Received The Marauder's Map

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"'We've come to give you a bit of festive cheer before we go,' said Fred, with a mysterious wink. 'Come in here....'

He nodded toward an empty classroom to the left of the one-eyed statue. Harry followed Fred and George inside. George closed the door quietly and then turned, beaming, to look at Harry.

'Early Christmas present for you, Harry,' he said. Fred pulled something from inside his cloak with a flourish and laid it on one of the desks. It was a large, square, very worn piece of parchment with nothing written on it."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

When Harry Received The Firebolt

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"Harry ripped the parcel open and gasped as a magnificent, gleaming broomstick rolled out onto his bedspread. Ron dropped his socks and jumped off his bed for a closer look.

'I don't believe it,' he said hoarsely.

It was a Firebolt, identical to the dream broom Harry had gone to see every day in Diagon Alley. Its handle glittered as he picked it up."

When Harry Found The Mirror Of Erised

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"He looked in the mirror again. A woman standing right behind his reflection was smiling at him and waving. He reached out a hand and felt the air behind him. If she was really there, he'd touch her, their reflections were so close together, but he felt only air — she and the others existed only in the mirror."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

All Of The Hogwarts Feasts

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"Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce — and stacks of wizard crackers every few feet along the table. These fantastic party favors were nothing like the feeble Muggle ones the Dursleys usually bought, with their little plastic toys and their flimsy paper hats inside. Harry pulled a wizard cracker with Fred and it didn't just bang, it went off with a blast like a cannon and engulfed them all in a cloud of blue smoke, while from the inside exploded a rear admiral's hat and several live, white mice. Up at the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick had just read him."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The Polyjuice Potion Adventure

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"'Merry Christmas to you, too,' said Hermione, throwing him his present. 'I’ve been up for nearly an hour, adding more lacewings to the potion. It’s ready.'"

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Presents From Mrs. Weasley

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"Hagrid had sent him a large tin of treacle toffee, which Harry decided to soften by the fire before eating; Ron had given him a book called Flying with the Cannons, a book of interesting facts about his favorite Quidditch team, and Hermione had bought him a luxury eagle-feather quill. Harry opened the last present to find a new, hand-knitted sweater from Mrs. Weasley and a large plum cake."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Trips To Hogsmeade Village

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"Hogsmeade looked like a Christmas card; the little thatched cottages and shops were all covered in a layer of crisp snow; there were holly wreaths on the doors and strings of enchanted candles hanging in the trees."

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Yule Ball

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“'Dress robes will be worn,' Professor McGonagall continued, 'and the ball will start at eight o’clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall.'"

—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Images: Giphy (12), Warner Bros (1)