Fall calendar

Fall break: Nov. 19-23

Last day of classes: Dec. 14

Final exams: Dec. 15-20

Commencement: Dec. 21

Source: http://colorado.edu/academics/academic-calendar

University of Colorado sophomore Rachel Baptista is looking forward to climbing trees and digging up her grandpa's yard this week as she hunts for a cash prize on Thanksgiving.

Baptista said her mom hosts a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt every year as a way to get her family moving again after a big meal.

"It always makes me feel like a kid when we do these family traditions," Baptista said. "After a semester of homework and tests and working hard it will be nice to get back home and not have all that responsibility for a few days."

With only a few weeks until finals, students said being around family and participating in holiday traditions during fall break will help relieve some of the stress of passed midterms and upcoming exams.

CU sophomore Mike Goodger said he has been responsible for making the cranberry sauce for his family's Thanksgiving feast for as long as he can remember.

Goodger adopted the traditional Thanksgiving dish after offering to help his mom in the kitchen as a young kid. Goodger said cranberry sauce was one of the only dishes he could wrap his head around as a child -- and 10 years later, he has perfected the recipe.

I think it was like one of those things that I knew I could do without screwing it up and just making more work for my mom so I stuck with it," Goodger said.

Goodger said he is embracing his trip home to San Diego this week, since it will probably be the last time he gets to relax until the end of the semester.

CU junior Whitney Haggerty said she's been looking forward to Thanksgiving since her midterms started more than a month ago.

""I can't wait to go home and be around my family and just feel like a kid again for a few days and forget about the homework and finals and all the procrastination," Haggerty said.

Cooking isn't an unusual Thanksgiving tradition, but Haggerty's family has their own way of dividing up the work while still enjoying some much-needed family time, she said.

"Everyone is responsible for their own dish and mine is dessert," Haggerty said. "It takes some of the work off of my mom and also gets us all in the same room so we're not spread out across the house all day doing our own thing."

Traditional pumpkin pie and not-so-traditional pretzel and strawberry cream dessert are just a couple of Haggerty's past concoctions. She said she's still deciding with to make this year but regardless of how her sweets turn out, it's really the time with family at her home in Niwot that she's looking forward to the most.

In true Colorado fashion, CU freshman Chuck Fellows said his family usually ends up hitting the slopes during Thanksgiving week for some family fun.

"I don't have to be responsible for life when I'm up there," Fellows said. "I can just enjoy it and forget about all the stuff I have to do when I get back from the break."

Students will return to campus Monday with three weeks of classes until the beginning of finals.

Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.