- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 07 December 2016
- Written by CLAUDIA LAMARCA | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
It’s that time of the year, where tinsel and lights cover front yards, Christmas trees, roofs and everything in between. Sometimes, we neglect to acknowledge that not everyone does the same things as we do for the holidays, and sometimes there are holiday traditions that some families do that we don’t even know exist. I asked a few students around campus to see how their family celebrates the holidays, and if they do any traditions within their family that are a little out of the ordinary.
Olivia Higson, a senior biology student from Manchester, England, explained that her family celebrates Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. She explained that during Boxing Day, it is the day in which they throw away all of the boxes from the presents on Christmas Day. It’s another time to see family that they hadn’t seen the last two days, and a day to indulge in more leftovers.
“We always celebrate with my dad’s side of the family because we don’t get to see them on Christmas Day,” Higson explained. “It’s like getting to celebrate Christmas for three days, and to keep eating all of the food leftover, so I can’t really complain.”
Higson also explained how a traditional Christmas dinner in England consists of turkey, stuffing, vegetables, etc. – most of which seems like our Thanksgiving meal.
Higson added, “Boxing Day really just highlights the importance of time with family and friends. Since I attend a school in a different country, I definitely miss out on a lot of important things when I’m not home. Having these three days around Christmas gives me the opportunity to see everyone, my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends.”
Another student with a unique holiday tradition is freshman Olivia Mangum, who explained that her family hosts a “Chrismikuh” party because they are half Jewish and half Catholic. “We eat both Jewish and Catholic traditional foods. We don’t really get or give any gifts, we just celebrate both holidays together,” she explained. “The rest of my family is mainly Jewish, so since we’re half and half, everyone comes over to celebrate both with us.”
Mangum elaborated on her favorite aspects of the tradition, saying, “My favorite [food] is definitely the Latkes, because we don’t have them too often. But I also love having turkey, ham and everything else that my family makes”.
Mangum’s cherished holiday memories are of picking out the Christmas tree. “We might be half and half, but I definitely think we lean towards celebrating Christmas a little more. I wish we had a more traditional celebration of Hanukkah, where we lit the menorah and celebrated the eight nights, but I do love picking out a tree and waking up to gifts. Having a huge party for both holidays combined allows my family to celebrate both, and spend time with the people who matter the most.
I had the opportunity to speak with Nicky Kelly, MBA Program Administrator in the Leon Hess Business School, and she explained some of her family’s favorite Christmas traditions. “A tradition we used to partake in is having a Christmas cracker placed on the dish of each guest. Before dinner, two people sitting next to each other would pull an end of the cracker, which was a paper tube wrapped in bright colored paper.”
Kelly explained, “As the two people pulled, the cracker would come apart and make a bang and inside might be a colorful party hat, a toy, or fortune.” The significance of these favors was that they broke the ice between guests that didn’t know each other.
Lastly, Alexa Smith, a junior from Long Island, had a tradition that was completely foreign to me. “On Dec. 6 we celebrate Santa’s birthday. You basically put a candy cane in your shoe, and leave it outside your door. Santa takes the candy cane, and leaves behind a treat.”
Smith recalled an interesting part of this holiday, saying “Obviously we can’t really celebrate anymore because both of my sisters and I are away at school. My mom manages to send us a little something every Dec. 6 to remind us of our family tradition!”
Smith was excited that her mom continued the tradition, even while at school. “It’s hard because the holiday season is so short; I feel like being at school until the 20th of December doesn’t give me enough time to celebrate the holiday, so it is nice that my mom carried on our tradition. This is also a tradition that I definitely want to do with my kids someday as well”.
No matter the holiday you celebrate, there are tons of variations celebrated all over the Monmouth student body. As the semester draws to a close, take the time to find out what your roommate, friend or professor does for the winter season. You never know what fun new traditions you could pick up on and take home for the holidays.
PHOTO TAKEN from christmas.redeoutdoor.com.