Although most students look forward to leaving Harvard behind for winter break, many will end up taking a little piece of it home for the holidays.
Undergraduates looking for the perfect gift to bring home for the family often choose items bearing Harvard's name, a trend that means booming business for vendors carrying items emblazoned with the University's insignia.
Last weekend Karin L. Akre '99 got a head start on her holiday shopping and bought a Harvard baseball cap and a Harvard sweatshirt to give to family members.
"I thought it would be something they would like," she says.
According to store manager Teresa Giaculli, J. August, a Mass Ave. retailer specializing in Harvard apparel, usually sees an increase in sales of up to 70 percent during the holiday period.
Paul R. Corcoran '54, who owns the Harvard Shop on JFK Street, says his store traditionally enjoys a jump in business as well, especially among "Harvard Mom" and "Harvard Dad" items.
And at the Coop yesterday afternoon, even as the weather kept locals at home, the insignia department still bustled with holiday shoppers.
A Big Success
Many students report that Harvard insignia gifts please their recipients.
During her first year at the Design School in 1993, Stephanie Smith bought "Harvard Mom" and "Harvard Dad" mugs to give at Christmas.
"They love them both," she says. "It was a big success."
Eric C. Sibbett, a third-year student at the Law School, agrees.
"[A Harvard gift] has special meaning," says Sibbett, who in 1994 bought Harvard sweatshirts for his father, mother and sister.
Christopher R. Stump, a second-year Divinity School student, says that he avoids insignia gifts entirely, even though he does most of his shopping in Cambridge before heading home for the holidays.
"It's a little pretentious, I suppose. But mostly it's just the price," he says.
Although yesterday's storm kept student shoppers in their dorms, store managers anticipate a big weekend starting today.
"We have a lot of student browsers coming in to see what they like," Corcoran says. "Hopefully, they'll be back.
Store managers agree that their heaviest sales period comes in the days just before students leave for break.