Ever since University High opened its doors, it has welcomed students of all kinds of backgrounds. Just taking a quick look at the campus, one can easily see that there is a mixing pot of cultures and personalities. The best time to see these unique differences between students is during the holiday season. During winter break, students come together to celebrate their respective holidays, whether it’s putting the Christmas tree or lighting the menorah. There are also those who do not celebrate any holidays and just enjoy the nice break. Everyone spends their winter break differently, so it is brilliant to gain insight into students’ different traditions.
“I celebrate it [Hannukah] just like everybody else does,” freshman Bailey Goldberg said. “That every night of Hanukkah, we add another candle until it’s the last night and there are eight candles.”
Every family celebrates their holiday in their own way. While families do try to stick to traditional concepts and practices, it doesn’t hurt to add a little twist to make it more personal. These additions make celebrating more fun and intimate.
“We have a giant electric Honda Kia we built that’s out front and every night we twist one of the bulbs in so it’s like a giant version [of the Menorah candles],” Goldberg said.
There are several reasons why many spend months looking forward to the holiday season, from spending time with family to partaking in festive activities. However, some families may celebrate multiple holidays depending on their backgrounds or if they have family members from various backgrounds. There are plenty of people who would dream of celebrating multiple holidays during the season. For freshman Courtney Michaud, it is her reality, as she celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas.
“I celebrate both because my mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic,” Michaud said. “Usually Hanukkah is before Christmas so for those eight days we light the candles and celebrate it as a family. Then Christmas comes and we celebrate that with my father’s side of the family. We decorate the house for both.”
As for Christmas itself, it is very common for students to celebrate during the winter break. From spending all day in kitchen baking to hours decorating, some go above and beyond for the holidays.
“It’s my absolute favorite time of the year,” senior Tyler Bartkowiak said. “Everything about it is perfect…I love pretty much every single aspect of Christmas. I couldn’t pick one thing as my favorite.”
Once Christmas nears, it is not uncommon to see a Santa somewhere nearby. And where there’s Santa, there are presents following.
“In the evening, our neighborhood does this thing where Santa rides around on a decked out trailer, so most people set up luminaries to “guide” Santa,” Bartkowiak said. “We open all our presents on Christmas Eve, it’s a German thing.”
However, it’s important to know that not everyone celebrates a holiday during winter break. Some prefer not to, but have a stupendous winter break nonetheless!
“Because of my religion and because I’m a Jehovah Witness, we don’t celebrate holidays,” junior Emily Edwards said.
Regardless if a student celebrates a holiday or not, winter break is a great way to relax and spend time with friends and family. There is a variety of nonholiday, winter activities to try and enjoy during winter break.
“I just either visit my family in New York and stay there or I just hang out at my house and we go to watch movies and we just do normal stuff just like any other break,” Edwards said. “[My favorite memory is] Probably going to New York and there was a blizzard and we just ran outside without any gloves on or any sweaters or anything and we were freezing and having a snowball fight in the backyard.”
Whatever you celebrate, we just hope you have a wonderful winter break. From UHSpress to you, happy holidays!