Students and Staff’s Christmas Traditions

Crista Bardales, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

As one of the most beloved holidays approaches, plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day start to fall in place. Teachers, staff, as well as students share what they do to prepare and celebrate the holidays.


“When I have Christmas with my dad, we usually open presents before he gets up,” senior Delanie Cunningham said. “But when I’m with my mom, we usually wait until my mom and step dad wake up, get their coffee, and get settled before we start to open presents.”


Cunningham spends the holidays some years with her dad, and other years with her mom and stepfather. Her favorite things about the holidays are the music, the food, but most importantly spending time with family.


“On Christmas Eve, most of the time my family and I go out to eat at a fancy restaurant,” senior Laura Saleh said. “That, or we have a family or family-friend get together.”


Many families decide to go out to eat instead of preparing a meal at home. Saleh said that they go out to eat at different restaurants every year.


“My mom always makes fruit punch with sherbert and hot chocolate for the family,” senior Macy Mckenzie said. “I make Tres Leches and my dad makes rice.”


Mckenzie added that her extended family comes over and brings Filipino food like lumpia and pancit, which are some of her favorite meals to eat with them. Her favorite part about celebrating the holidays is getting together with family and creating new memories together before the year ends.


Often, there is a mass service for those who want to celebrate at church to remember why Jesus died. The Nativity that is often shown during these masses on Christmas is a picture, carving, or a model of the birth of Jesus Christ.


“On Christmas Eve my husband, four children and I have a meal together, then go to an evening mass to celebrate the Nativity,” Spanish teacher Janet Husemeier said.


In order to liven up the holidays, some families decide to celebrate a little differently. This is the case for English teacher, Ryan Baker.


“My wife came up with doing 12 Days of Christmas as a way to spread things out.” Baker said. “Starting on Dec. 13th, our girls would open one gift per day all the way till Christmas Day. Some days, the gift would be related to an activity like ice skating or a movie or making gingerbread houses.”


Baker said that even now that his daughters are older (16, 18, 20), they still like to do this 12 days tradition because it’s a way for them to enjoy the holidays a bit more.


During Winter break, teachers are usually flooded with school work, but this doesn’t stop them from enjoying their time off.


“My daughter is a junior at the University of Texas Austin, and we love to have her home during my break,” Mr. Berry said. “We’ll travel to Pittsburgh to see my family, binge watch some TV shows, go out to dinner and maybe see a movie.”

Mr. Berry added that they try to spend as much time together as possible while they have the chance. On Christmas Eve, him and his family will even spend time watching classic movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

“I spend my time in front of the fire with a warm drink,” Ms. Husemeier said.” I love reading and hanging out with my family and hoping for snow during break.”

One of the most essential parts of Christmas is the tree. Every year, people decorate theirs with lights and ornaments, many of which hold meaning to the family.


“My wife is so proud of her Christmas tree,” Mr. Berry said. “Over the years she has added only ornaments with emotional meaning, events, places we’ve traveled, special pictures, etc. The tree reminds us of our blessings and gifts.”


Despite the different traditions staff and students have for the holidays, they all have one thing in common: Being with family is the most important part.