Staycation or vacation?

VHHS students share their plans for winter break 2022


Morgan Bedell (10) takes a stop during her winter skiing trip.

As 2022 comes to an end and winter break is peeking around the corner, students begin planning for their two weeks off of school. Winter break allows students to unwind, step away from the academic stress of homework and finals, and rejuvenate before the new year. Whether unwinding consists of a getaway far from Vernon Hills on a tropical island or staying wrapped in a blanket at home, VHHS students plan to take advantage of their brain break.

Some have knowledge of whether they are staying in town or taking off for vacation, while others haven’t the slightest idea of their plans but remain hopeful for a thrilling couple weeks off. A recent survey taken by 100 VHHS students revealed that 37% of students plan to travel for winter break, going to places like Florida, Wisconsin and California, or even internationally to countries such as Mexico, France and New Zealand.

Morgan Bedell (10), plans on staying rooted in Vernon Hills over break. Typically, Bedell and her family enjoy their staycation every holiday, often spending two nights in Chicago, where they walk around and have dinner. She embraces the break as her two sisters return home from college.

“[I most look forward to] spending time with family and just watching Christmas movies and baking with my family,” said Bedell.

When she is not bonding with her family, Bedell partakes in some exciting activities with her friends.

“We do, gingerbread house baking. And we bake those Target cookies, and get matching pajamas,” said Bedell.

Bedell is not the only one who plans to take out her apron–66.7% of the survey participants claim they are going to bake by themselves, and 54.1% plan to bake in a group. Other participants also demonstrated their interest in getting creative as 52% want to decorate cookies and 50% plan to make a gingerbread house.

Similar to Bedell, Mia Muraca (9) falls in that 34% of VHHS students who will be spending their break in town and possibly in the city.

“I don’t have a vacation planned or anything, but I was going to hang out with family, maybe take a day trip down to Chicago [for the tree lighting] or Wisconsin,” said Muraca.

Muraca, along with 49% of students who took the survey, hope to attend a light show over the holiday, enjoying the festive decorations and dancing lights in the luminous environment.There are various light shows in the Chicagoland area, such as the ZooLights in Lincoln Park Zoo, Lightscape in the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sparkle Light Festival in Rosemont, and many more.

Jack Ratajczyk (12) has the luxury of getting to spend some of his break in the warm tropics of Cancún, and some of it in Vernon Hills.

“We’re going [to Cancún] with a bunch of my family and some of the neighbors, some of our closest friends”, Ratajczyk shared. “I’m excited to relax, and it’s an all inclusive, so I get unlimited food and drinks. And we’re going on excursions, so I’ll get to swim with dolphins.”

After vegging in Mexico, Ratajczyk plans to return home for more festivities before going back to school.

“I’m only going for five or six days, so when I’m back at home, I’ll probably be spending time with my family and friends, just doing Christmas activities, probably going ice skating or seeing a movie,” said Ratajczyk.

While traveling for winter break can be a nice getaway from the cold Vernon Hills, there are many ways to be entertained without going on vacation. Those who don’t have a vacation scheduled have shared other exciting activities to do locally: skiing, getting coffee with friends, playing video games, and playing board games with family.

Regardless of if students plan to vacation or stay local, there are many opportunities offered to have a satisfactory winter break.