Thanksgiving Break is just barely on-time at UVM. There are no breaks in Fall Semester until this break, unless one counts Labor Day, but school sometimes starts the day after Labor Day. It was a relief for me, and it must have been close to life-saving for many other students.
I went home almost every weekend except for the two weekends before Thanksgiving break, so the longest I spent away from home was roughly 3 weeks. And then I went home for Thanksgiving break. I skied at Jay Peak for all 5 days that it was open during break. The snow was great, to say the least. I had time to relax, get nonschool work done, visit friends, and eat a lot of food!
I suppose that while the weeks up to Thanksgiving break can be brutal, especially for those far from home, the distribution of time makes returning to school easier. There were about two weeks of class before one week of finals. And to be honest, I had only two exams during finals week, so I was home for break before exam week even started, and I drove down to Burlington for my two exams.