Christmas Traditions


Abigail Frank

Christmas Tree from a 2017 family room

Drew Hardister and Abigail Frank

Traditions are an important part of everyone’s holidays, and everyone has at least one or two even though they may not seem like traditions. They are usually something you and your loved ones do every year. Traditions can be anything that you do with your family every year, like if your family goes on a vacation or you guys roast marshmallows by the fire. They can even be as simple as watching a certain movie every year or even reading a book.

Every Christmas Eve, my family and I attend a church service and then head home to make a nice dinner and Christmas cookies. We decorate them and then head to bed. The next morning, we wake up and wait for my Grandpa and his girlfriend to arrive at our house. We spend the morning exchanging gifts and conversing. We make a large breakfast together while we watch Christmas movies.

In the afternoon, we head over to my other grandparents’ house to celebrate there. I help my grandparents cook, by making mashed potato balls. We always have sauerbraten, mashed potato balls, sauerkraut, and red cabbage. It’s my Dad’s birthday on Christmas day, so he gets to decide the meal every year. It’s always the same thing though.

After dinner, we laugh about old memories and then we exchange gifts. After that ordeal, we bring out a birthday cake for my Dad. We sing “Happy Birthday” and then enjoy dessert. My family and I then head home and regret all the food we ate that day while we watch a final Christmas movie.

One of the traditions we have in our family is watching Elf every Christmas, we make it a point to sit everybody down at least once in
December to watch the movie as a family.

The Movie that me and my family watch every single year (Drew Hardister)

We also decorate the Christmas tree as a family every year, and about halfway through the process I step away to make everyone hot chocolate, and we sip our hot chocolate while we work on the tree. While we decorate the tree there is a Christmas CD that everyone likes the songs on, so we jam out to Christmas music as well.

Then on Christmas morning we kids wake up early, and we sit around and watch TV while we wait for the sun to come up because our parents won’t get up before the sun’s up. After we wake up our parents we all sit in the family room and open gifts, then we cook a big breakfast we all sit around the table and we eat together. Then when everyone’s done we watch movies all day as a family. We eat leftovers and pizza for dinner as well.
Jon’s family has a tradition where he goes and visits his grandpa who lives in Italy, “We spend the whole Christmas break there,” he says. “My family likes to go up there and visit because my grandpa is the only one who lives up there and he gets lonely, so we like to keep him company during the holidays.” They make ‘smores around a campfire and sing Christmas carols together, they even play nog pong.

On Christmas day Jessica’s family wakes up super early and they all open their presents, they go out to eat at a fancy restaurant as well. “We usually go out to eat in the middle of the lunch and dinner rush, because we don’t want to eat when it’s too crowded,” she says her favorite tradition is when they get home, and they play board games together, “We always play Life together, and occasionally we play a game of Monopoly.”

A student at Roosevelt, Preston, shared his Christmas traditions. Preston explained that he “doesn’t have many traditions, but [he gets together with his family] at [his] grandparents or uncle’s house every year for Christmas.” During the get-togethers, they typically socialize, eat dinner, and then socialize again until everybody leaves. He doesn’t know exactly where these traditions originate from, but he does these traditions with his dad’s side of the family. Preston loves these traditions because he “[gets] to see a lot of [his] family that [he] rarely gets to see, during a special time.” In the future, he wants to start new traditions of his own, with the people he cares about.

Another student at ERHS, Angie, also shared her Christmas traditions. Her family primarily celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. She, her mom, and her grandma spend the morning in the kitchen making tamales, laughing about old stories, and reflecting on the year. When the tamales are done, her “entire family sits around enjoying [their] dinner and each other’s company.” Angie explained how when it hits twelve o’clock, the start of Christmas, “the little kids gather around the tree and the adults start passing out the gifts.” Everybody opens their gifts at the same time and they enjoy the company until the early morning.

Angie said that these traditions have always been prevalent on both sides of her family. She loves these traditions because she loves to be able to give gifts and see the excitement of the people receiving them. Angie also loves her mom’s tamales. Her mom only makes them on Christmas though, so that’s something she always looks forward to. In the future, she’d like to start a tradition in which she gives back to the community. Her reasoning: “It’s important to give back to the community at times where people may need the support of the community the most.”