While I was working on pairing up house members to be each other’s secret buddies, my house was getting into the holiday spirit. Our Resident Heads and their family brought a fake tree and ornaments out from storage and various members of our house would stop by and help decorate. (Resident heads are members of the university community, such as grad students, who live in an apartment in the dorms and are around to be a resource for students.) When the night of the gift exchange arrived, all of the presents were neatly wrapped and placed under this tree. Some of our house members baked cookies, and we had a holiday party!
One of the best gifts exchanges that night was from one of our RH’s daughters who hand painted a wooden photo frame and placed a photo of her and her secret buddy inside of it. One of my friends gave me personalized Delta Gamma stickers because I had just recently joined the sorority, and I gave my friend – who was our Kitchen Czar – a pair of engraved chopsticks that said “Thangaraj Kitchen Czar.” Other thoughtful gifts were exchanged, and some were surprised to find that one of their close friends had been their secret buddy all along after receiving a gift based on an inside joke.
I loved that I was able to help my housemates put the stress of finals aside for a little bit and come together to just celebrate in each other’s company. While you don’t need to have a position in your house’s council to be involved with house activities, I’m very glad I took a step out of my comfort zone by volunteering. I am so grateful for my house and our goofy traditions; they’ve really helped make my house feel like a home away from home.