23 Reasons the Last Day of School Before Winter Break Was the BEST When We Were Kids

The last day of school before the start of winter break is always a momentous occasion — but when we were kids? Man. That day was the best. Not only was it usually a short day, but even better, it was jam packed full of activities that made it feel like we weren’t even at school at all. I mean, when else could you spend an entire day decorating gingerbread houses, making paper snowflakes, and pinning the nose on Rudolph, and still be completely accurate when you called it “school?”

So for Throwback Thursday this week, let’s relive our favorite last-day-of-school-before-winter-vacation memories. My own recollections come from the ‘90s and take place in a small town with an incredibly specific demographic; as such, I’m willing to bet that there will be at least a few discrepancies between what I remember and what you remember. I’m pretty sure we can all relate to one thing, though: The infectious excitement of knowing that it was the last day of school for at least a week or two. Even if you loved school, it’s hard not to look forward to that. Without further ado, here are 23 reasons why the last day of school before winter break was the absolute greatest.

1. The night before, you probably either went to or participated in the school chorus’ holiday recital.

Or the band or orchestra concert. Either way, the evening usually consisted of a lot of largely tone-deaf kids whaling away at a wide array of holiday standards until they didn’t sound anything like they should anymore (the cast of Glee we were not). To all the parents out there who sat through those concerts year after year: You guys deserve the highest of praise.

2. And you’d make sure you had your best holiday-themed outfit ready to go.

I was the kind of kid who always laid out my clothes the night before — especially when it was a themed outfit. I still do, actually. Old habits die hard. At least I don’t wear scrunchies anymore, right?

3. You’d hope for a snow day

4. …But it wasn’t so bad if you didn’t get one.

Because this is all the stuff you had to look forward to once you hopped off the bus:

5. A visit to the school-wide holiday fair.

This was the only way to get your holiday shopping done when you were little. Styrofoam ornaments with glued-on sequins and holiday-themed Rice Krispie Treats go a long way when they’re gifted by a seven-year-old.

6. Singing holiday songs in music class.

7. Making paper snowflakes in art class.

8. Reading The Polar Express during library time.

Or having it read to you by your favorite librarian.

9. Snow pants and boots at recess.

As long as you lived in a place that actually got snow during the winter, that is.

10. Pizza for lunch.

Because Friday was pizza day — and if you were really lucky, there would be something seasonally appropriate on your plate, too. Like a snowflake-shaped cookie or something.

And, of course:

11. The class holiday party!

12. Complete with candy canes.

13. And holiday baked goods.

Bonus points if you got to decorate your own cookies.

14. Each kid got a tiny little stocking with a few pieces of candy in it.

Which most of us treasured for years, regardless of the fact that they’re literally a dime a dozen.

15. You’d make a “gingerbread house” consisting of graham crackers pasted to a milk carton with frosting.

But it was still way better than the most expensive gingerbread house in the world, because you made it yourself.

16. And decorate the classroom with festive paper chains.

17. And participate in all sorts of other celebratory activities, usually pertaining to Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa.

I’m not sure what elementary schools put the emphasis on now, but back when I was a kid, those were the three December holidays they tried to teach us about.

18. You’d watch Frosty the Snowman.

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It was always a treat when the big, huge TV stands got wheeled into your classroom.

19. Or A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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20. Or the Rugrats Hanukkah special.

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21. But not The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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It was too weird for school. You’d save it for when you got home instead.

22. You’d always give your teacher a gift.

Usually a coffee mug, sweets or baked goods, or a scented candle. I wonder what elementary teachers do with all those coffee mugs their students gift them year after year?

And of course, it all led up to…

23. Early dismissal.

See you next year, suckers!

Images: Jason Kuffer/Flickr; Giphy (13); F Yeah Bridget Jones, Pikachu Makes Me Smile/Tumblr; Photobucket; Giphy Soup (2)