Christmas traditions vary greatly from student to student

Multi-culture Santa

By Abby Clough & Karissa Irvin | Collaborative Reporters

Relatives fly in, presents are bought, food is made and happiness is spread as families prepare for the holidays.

For most families, the winter holidays are for gathering and celebrating time together. Even though many families have different beliefs about what is being celebrated during the holidays, many still agree the holidays are a time to give to others and spread kindness.

Freshman William Crombie considers Christmas a time of togetherness and charity.

“I don’t celebrate it [Christmas] because of its religious connotations, but it does involve a spirit of giving that brings families closer together and makes people get in the spirit of giving,” Crombie said.

There are many ways to celebrate the different winter holidays including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas. Each night of the eight day holiday of Hanukkah, Jewish families give small gifts to one another, eat fried foods for dinner and light a candle on the menorah, which is a candelabrum that has nine branches

Sophomore Kyle Magruder normally celebrates Christmas, but this year he is considering practicing the Jewish traditions.

“I just started studying the Jewish religion and [I’m] seeing if I can get my parents to do that,” Magruder said.

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of the African-American and African-Canadian heritage which includes decorating houses with African art, feasting and gift-giving.

The Christian holiday Christmas, known as the birthday of Jesus Christ, is celebrated world-wide and even by non-Christians. Sophomore Jose Andrade has a more radical view on the holiday.

“I grew up with the Jesus Christ thing, but I started to really question if Christmas should be depicted by Christianity,” Andrade said.

Christmas can hold different meanings for different religions. Eighth grader Taylor Stark believes Christmas should be about Christ.

“Since He [Jesus Christ] died on the cross for our sins, it’s His birthday, it should at least be celebrated for Him,” Stark said.

Different religions broaden the spectrum of how Christmas can be celebrated as well. From the foods one might eat to the people one might spend the holidays with, every family has their own unique traditions. Junior Brittany Campbell celebrates Christmas every year and enjoys participating in many traditions.

“We have a fake tree and we all put it up together while we eat cookies and drink hot chocolate. Then we drink hot chocolate again before we open presents on Christmas morning,” Campbell said.

On the other hand, some traditions are more out of the ordinary. There are traditions that are celebrated before Christmas day.

“It’s kind of a weird tradition, but it’s Beethoven’s birthday [Dec.  16] and we always get a Christmas tree on that day,” Crombie said.

Although there are many traditions, one that particularly seems to have stuck over the years is the idea of Santa Claus and all the extras that come with him. He is mainly aimed at younger children, but as people get older, he becomes a relic of childhood.

“If Santa is my mom, then yes, I still believe in him,” Campbell said.
Although some people believe Santa is human, others believe he is simply a mind set.

“I don’t believe Santa should be a person or an idea of Christmas, but it should be thought of like Uncle Sam,” Andrade said. “It shouldn’t be thought of as someone else, but that you should be Santa yourself.”

Along with other lingering traditions, one adopted over the years was the practice of giving gifts, otherwise known as presents.

“I don’t really care about presents; I think that it’s more of a superficial kind of thing,” Magruder said. “They’re more of adopted ways; I don’t think that’s how it all really started.”        Although the holidays can be a very happy time, some people do not have the money to celebrate the holidays to modern day standards. Various organizations are there to help them through the holidays.

“There are a lot of programs where people donate presents for kids who don’t get presents, and a big part of Christmas is having fun with your family,” Campbell said. “It’s not just about receiving presents though, but finding things families can do together.”