Everyone at the boarding school goes home for Christmas.
Miles gets a watch and a wallet, but mostly he studies. Precalc and bio are the bane of his existence, and like many students, he's studying partially to learn but also to get into college.
Feeling a little guilty about leaving him at the Creek at Thanksgiving, Miles's parents are a bit more emotional when he's there—his mom cries during every family dinner and teaches him to make dishes he doesn't like, and his dad talks with him about books.
But when Miles leaves and his parents say they're proud of him and love him, he is thankful that he has a family. (Especially when compared to Alaska.)