by Kayleigh Keggan, Staff Writer
Every child remembers going to bed early on Christmas Eve, excited to see what St. Nick brought for them. The same goes for next morning waking up Christmas morning as a child being so antsy and trying to sneak a peak at what is hidden under the tree for you before your parents get up.
Every family has certain things they do for every holiday that varies from other families.
“My family [dad, mother, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins] and I all spend Christmas together. We eat a Christmas meal; then we exchange gifts, play games, do crafts, play in the snow and make snowmen and go sleigh riding”, said Mariah May, an undecided freshman. “We end the night by watching our favorite Christmas movies.”
Holiday traditions aren’t always just about what people do Christmas morning. Traditions carry on even before this. Things like cutting a tree, or when the lights are streamed across the front of a house.
Jasmine Gray, an undecided freshman said, “Every December on the second Saturday we go and get our Christmas tree.”
My family does something similar. Two weeks before Christmas on that Saturday, my family and I go out and find out tree. When we get it home, we start to decorate it. Usually on the first nice day in December on a weekend, I help my stepfather put the lights up on the roof. The weeks leading up to the holiday, my mom, grandma, my sister, and I bake all kinds of different Christmas cookies for the family.
Christmas morning we get up around eight to open our presents and spend the day together. My mom always makes a breakfast casserole in the morning. Later in the day my grandma comes over to exchange gifts with the family. We eat an early dinner on that day. It’s like Thanksgiving but with ham instead.
After dinner, my siblings and I go over and see my dad for a little bit and exchange gifts and just spend time together. On Christmas Eve and Christmas night, we always watch our favorite holiday movies.
Melissa Morehead, a junior social work major, said, “Christmas Eve we go to church every year. On Christmas morning, we normally go to the church service too.”
Freshman Hawa Diaby, who is majoring in biology premed, celebrates a different holiday altogether. Her family celebrates Ramadan, a Muslim holy month. Through the whole month they eat from sundown to sunset and they fast during the daylight hours. This takes place over 29 days. On the 30th day, which is called Eid al-Fitr, the Muslims come together at the mosque and pray. They also eat together and exchange gifts.
“We celebrate our holiday in October,” said Diaby, “then we celebrate again this time of the year.”
Hannah Berstein, a senior art therapy major, celebrates Hanukkah. “I don’t like that we don’t get off for the holiday like everyone else gets off for their holidays,” she said.
Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting candles on the menorah and praying. Unlike Christmas where it is just one day where we receive gifts, Hanukkah is celebrated over eight days and celebrants receive small gifts throughout.
“We get small gifts over the days, but the last day we usually get a big gift,” Berstein said. “When I was younger, we would play dreidel and make latkes.”
When we celebrate Christmas, we believe in Santa. With Hanukkah, they don’t have something like, but some families come up with something similar to Santa.
“My parents came up with Harry the Hanukkah Moose, who would bring our presents to the front door. I figured out it was my parents after I saw the wrapping paper in the closet. I then found out that they left the presents at the front door, rang the doorbell and ran around back,” stated Berstein.
The holiday season is a time to spend with family and appreciate what you have, not what you receive. Traditions are important to my family and I look forward to continuing the traditions even though it’s harder in college.