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Dearest Princetonians, you have reached, if you will, the home stretch of your regular season. With classes just a week and a half away from winding down, you may, as I do, begin to wonder in vain why we have been allotted merely two weeks of rest and relaxation instead of three, as has been the case in years past. How, you may ask, will be the most productive way to spend your holidays? Preparing for Dean’s Date? Getting a head start on your upcoming exams?

If you are a truly diligent student and put these things on your winter break to-do list, my hat is off to you. If you are like me, however, and procrastination is a way of life, you may find alternate ways to pass the time. Look no further, dear reader, than holiday sports, the merriest time of the year.

Why does this time eclipse all others, you may ask? Three main reasons stick out for me — the end of the NFL regular season, NCAA football bowl season, and last, but certainly not least, NBA Christmas Day.

In order:

The end of the NFL regular season: when you only have 16 games in your entire season, every win and loss is crucial for trying to extend your season into January. If you turn your channel to Fox or CBS on aSundaynight, you’re guaranteed to find more than a few games that will shape who makes the NFL Playoffs and who ultimately might get a shot at the Vince Lombardi Trophy come Super BowlSunday.

Granted, it must be stated that your excitement over the final stretch of the regular season depends on whom you support. If you’re a New England Patriots fan, and success has been a way of life for your team, maybe you find this time of the year pretty chill. I, for reference, am a die-hard fan of the New York Giants. The Giants, year-in and year-out, have been mired in the depths of mediocrity, yet due to the lackluster performance of their division (the NFC East), they always have a chance to get into the playoffs. Have they failed the last three years? Perhaps. Did they bring home that Super Bowl victory? Yes sir. The Giants are one of the best examples for why I love rooting for the middle of the road teams — you’re never quite too crushed if they flop, but they always have the chance to pull off the victory that will make your entire year.

Bowl season: Oh boy. Where to even start? I had a chance to write about the history of bowl games around this time last year, but I didn’t really get the chance to express the sheer amount of joy this amount of football brings to me year in and year out. From the day Princeton sets us free (Dec. 18), hardly a day goes by in December without a different bowl game adorning my television. Indeed, with the adjustment to the playoff system (as this year’s Citrus Bowl and Cotton Bowl determine which teams enter the BCS Championship Game in January), the football-related intensity hits a fever pitch. But even as a lover of America’s sport, not much can top my excitement for…

NBA on Christmas Day:My parents told me around the age of nine that Santa Claus wasn’t real. But as a diehard NBA fan, the lineup each and every Christmas makes me start to believe that there really is a man out there whose sole goal is to bring me joy onDec. 25.

Every year, the NBA decides to put its best rivalries on display on Christmas Day, making for 12+ hours of unadulterated basketball goodness. I must lament, however, that after last year’s debacle of a season, my New York Knicks were no longer deemed worthy to adorn this hallowed Christmas schedule. (And the Lakers are? This is absurd.)

But I digress. From LeBron James and Steph Curry duking it out in prime-time Christmas to the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs battling it out to see who really runs Texas, there’s not much I can say I don’t absolutely adore about the NBA on Christmas Day.

So there you have it. For all you sports lovers out there — these last few days of the semester may be the most tedious, but rejoice, knowing there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

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