The Not-So-Traditional Traditions


(Photo Courtesy of Sarah Meadows)

Obviously, decorating a Christmas tree is one of the most traditional holiday traditions of all time.

Sarah Meadows, Photojournalist

My mom once told me that the best part about a Christmas tree is the meaning behind it. Each ornament holds a memory that makes us smile, laugh, or cry. Together, the memories harmonize into a collage of memories, singing the songs of angels. Meaning means emotion, and without a doubt, the meaning behind every holiday tradition provokes emotion on end. Just the sound of that floods my mind with thousands of pictures, here one second and gone the next.


Everyone has heard of the classic holiday tradition of decorating a Christmas tree, but has anyone heard of scavenging for the golden pickle ornament on Christmas Eve or reciting “Christmas Vacation” by heart in an Australian accent? Without a doubt, it is these traditions, the ones that not every family knows, that hold the greatest amount of value to the individual families who do know them.


If I were to ask every student in the school their unique holiday traditions, I could compile a list that would end up longer than Santa’s checklist, documenting the family traditions of the past, the present, and the future. And that is the beauty of traditions. Nonetheless, the best I can do is as follows:


Kelsey Campbell (9) always puts santa hats on her dog. Why? Kelsey explained that “seeing her dog in a Christmas hat on Christmas morning just fuels her up with Christmas cheer, and it does the same for her party guests throughout the day.” Claire Koltura (10) and her family always decorate 7 trees per year, exactly. 7? Yes, 7. Hannah Gray (11) makes latkas every year in celebration of Hanukkah. And Sydney Kim (10) goes to her grandparents house every New Years to bow for money, a traditional Korean tradition with a twist. Instead of celebrating it on Lunar New Years, it is celebrated on January 1.


Where do such unique traditions come from, one may ask? The heart. They stem from a smile, a laugh, or a cry that transcends from one year to the next. Indeed, carrying on traditions is one reason for the season. Whether one celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or New Years during this season, the reasoning behind every irrational, last minute trip to the mall on December 24 at midnight is the same: holiday traditions!


Merry Christmas and a happy New Year (and a happy Hanukkah and a happy Kwanzaa)! May your holiday traditions shine bright this year and the many years to come!