Every year, the holidays are a time where a fat man in a red suit supposedly slides down a brick chimney with a sack full of wrapped presents and gives them to us in exchange for being good throughout the year and some free cookies. We go to malls and shop until we are blue in the face and we set up mistletoe just for that special Christmas kiss (not from your mother). Some of us even go on a vacation to Hawaii or Mexico and turn our TV sets to show Christmas With the Kranks or Shrek the Halls. If you’re Jewish, you still shop and vacate but you also love lighting colourful wax candles (that kids could mistake as popsicles) and sing Hebrew songs by Adam Sandler just as grandma’s making potato pancakes (not as gross as they sound). But it seems as if the educational system doesn’t care if we’re with our families or not as long we can take a week off from counting down the days until Christmas and get stress marks worrying about exams. I’d rather have a hippopotamus for Christmas but things haven’t been going my way this year. I was all set to leave on December 21st to Fort Lauderdale and see that new Tintin movie Steven Spielberg directed (btw, my directing idol). But just weeks before the end of November, I’m handed a report card with an exam schedule stapled to the back. I’ve never been so big on the “high expectations” North Toronto achieves for and I certainly won’t deny the fact that this school goes above and beyond to make sure every single student is a student they can carve on their walls of Ontario Scholarships but this is too much. I’m not saying I’ll become an alcoholic because of this but I am considering drinking a couple gallons of egg nog. So now I’m going to be flying ALONE on December 22nd ($333 later to be exact) to Fort Lauderdale watching Christmas With the Kranks (which I never even liked anyways) on the seat in front of me and on that flight I will be thinking to myself, does work really conquer ALL… including family love?