Students, faculty celebrate old and new holiday traditions

Senior Wade Henderson decorates a Christmas tree in his third hour class. Business teacher Bethany Siegel allowed Henderson to decorate the classroom tree to uplift her Christmas spirit. "Decorating gets me in the Christmas spirit," Siegel said.

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Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather and reflect on what they have. Although not all people celebrate Christmas; many families that do, have formed traditions throughout years of celebrating this holiday.  

   Many of the students and faculty celebrate the same but some have their own special way of getting in the holiday spirit.

   “I wear Christmas sweaters, shirts and sweatshirts, pretty much anything related to Christmas everyday after Thanksgiving until Christmas. Sometimes if I’m really feeling it I will wear them until New Years,” math teacher Bobbi Swisher said.

   Many students celebrate in more traditional ways. According to countryliving.com common traditions are hosting an Elf on the Shelf, driving around looking at Christmas lights, having a secret Santa gift exchange, making gingerbread houses, Christmas countdown with an advent calendar, watching Christmas movies, baking, mailing holiday cards, decorating, dressing up, sharing memories, writing letters to Santa and many many more.

   Freshman Alec Frost participates in quite a few of these Christmas traditions.

   “I have five younger siblings so we do a bunch of stuff for them. We host an Elf on the Shelf, they write letters to Santa, we drive around looking at lights, make gingerbread houses, watch a bunch of Christmas movies and decorate. My favorite tradition we do is watch the movie ‘Elf’ every year,” Frost said.

   Others have small, but meaningful traditions that they carry on each year. 

   “My cousin and I wear matching PJs every Christmas Eve,” senior Reagan Shelby said.

   Some have traditions that have been passed down through generations.

 “Every year we do a Polish tradition. It’s where we hide a pickle ornament in the tree. We have two to find, whoever finds the first pickle gets to choose whether they open presents first or pass them out. Whoever finds the second pickle gets whatever option the 1st person didn’t choose,” junior Emmaleigh Kowal said.

   Although most people look forward to this holiday, others do not as much due to their hectic and crazy plans. Senior Ally Wenberg said she sometimes dreads the holiday because it is never the same.

   “On Christmas Eve I’m with my dad’s family. We go to church, then have dinner and then we open presents. On Christmas morning, I’m at home with my aunt and uncle. The rest of the day changes every year,” senior Ally Wenberg said.

   Others don’t look forward to it due to the fact that they are missing loved ones. Sophomore Emma Johnson’s family has added new traditions since the passing of her brother.

   “Since Dalton (my brother) isn’t here this year we didn’t want to do everything the same because it would feel wrong. Each ornament has a word that describes Dalton that someone wrote down at the funeral on these little wooden hearts. My mom sent in all of the words on the hearts and had them put on our ornaments for this year. We each also got an ornament with what he was to us. The ornaments mean so much to us because its our way of incorporating him into our old Christmas traditions in a new way. Each time I go down and sit by the Christmas tree I am reminded of him and everything he was,” sophomore Emma Johnson said.

   As the years go by and their situations change, so will their holiday traditions.

   “When I go to college, I will not have the same experiences because I will be away so I won’t be able to experience going Christmas shopping with my family, wrapping gifts, and sitting around the Christmas tree with them,” Shelby said.