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Local Bobcats celebrate the holiday season

With thousands of Bobcats traveling back to their hometowns for the holidays and the usually bustling Court and Union Streets now significantly emptier, Athens locals have found joy in the quietness the city offers during the winter holidays.

Cassie Nalazek, a junior studying biological sciences, has lived in Athens her entire life and has noticed some considerably large changes around town since the end of the fall term.

“(Athens is) a lot quieter,” Nalazek said. “I think it’s very peaceful. You can park anywhere you want, a lot of businesses close for the holidays. I think it's really nice, it gives the community a lot of much-needed rest.”

As Nalazek points out, many businesses have changed their hours during this time to adjust for the lack of students.

Donkey Coffee, a popular study spot for students during the semester, has adjusted its typical closure time of midnight to instead closing at 8 p.m. during the winter break. 

Other popular Court St. eateries, such as Mac Shack and Court Street Coffee have all adjusted their hours to accommodate staff and customers.

Although Court St. is much more empty during these weeks, Nalazek mentioned there is no absence of merriness or holiday spirit on the now emptier road.

“You go on Court Street (and) all you can hear is the Christmas music playing because there’s nothing else really going on,” said Nalazek. “I love that feeling.”

Sophia Tenoglia, a junior studying early childhood education, also holds an appreciation for Court St. during the holiday season.

“I love how they decorate Court St. for Christmas,” Tenoglia said. “The lights around the poles and wreaths, and the big Christmas tree with the Passionworks ornaments on it. I love that.”

Despite the quietness of Court St. and popular near-campus businesses, other parts of the city are still busy as citizens prepare for the holiday season and new year.

Tenoglia, who has lived in Athens her entire life, works at Seaman’s Cardinal Super Market, located at 305 W. Union St.

“I worked on Christmas Eve, and it was still super busy because most of the clientele are from (Athens),” Tenoglia said. “That’s kind of interesting to see.”

Despite the smaller population, Athens is still filled with holiday festivities and events. From Selfies with Santa’s Workshop, horse-drawn wagon rides and musical performances lighting up Court Street during the holiday break, the town is in festive spirits during the Christmas and New Year seasons.

Along with the events going on in town, Athens locals are using the break similarly to many out-of-town students: spending time with family and friends.

“Winter break for me is a lot like for other students,” said Nalazek. “I’m really just focused on spending time with family and my friends who (are) back in town.”

With the changes in the city atmosphere due to the lack of students, the quietness offers a new perspective of Athens that many students from out-of-town do not see while away for a break.

“Personally I love when students are here, it’s what I’m used to,” said Nalazek. “But I also really like this entire time, it’s a time to just take a breath and relax.”


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