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Students celebrate holiday season differently

Students share what this time of year means to their families

Senior Andrew Ferdig (second to left), Forrest Colson (center) and Adele Colson (third to right) go with their youth group, Greater Lansing Temple Youth, to see Fiddler on the Roof on Dec 9.

The holiday season is hallmarked for building snowmen, decorating Christmas trees, and opening gifts on Christmas day. But that isn’t all that students do.

Whether it is celebrating a religion, or carrying on a tradition, students spend the holiday season many different ways.

People do many different things to celebrate this time of year. The activities and traditions celebrated during this time of year vary from not partaking in the holiday events, to doing all they can to make the season memorable.

Everyone has a different idea of what the holidays are and what they mean.

“The holidays for me, I guess, is just visiting my family and being around them and eating lots of food,” said junior Alaina Chuney.

Some families have many different holiday traditions that they celebrate in their household. Chuney gathers with her family on December 24 to open a present. A lot of families have the tradition of opening one or more gifts on Christmas Eve.

"Normally on Christmas Eve we have a family gathering and each of us get a present and we get to open it before Christmas," said Chuney.

The holidays are all about spending time with family and getting to teach others about my own customs and celebrations.

One thing many families do is get together, no matter what holiday they are celebrating. Sophomore Apprentice Woods, for example, goes to his grandma’s house.

“Everyone goes to my grandma’s, where she goes crazy and buys all us kids gifts to open and the little kids buy stuff for Grandma… everyone laughs. It’s a fun time. We also build gingerbread houses with the little kids, and we make lots of food, and everyone has to bring a dish to the Christmas supper,” said Woods.

Although lots of families have some holiday traditions, other families celebrate the holidays, but do not participate in annual family traditions.

“My family doesn’t really have any holiday traditions,” said sophomore Jason Fisher

The holiday season opens up many more opportunities to participate in winter activities outdoors. Junior Peyton Bruce likes to spend his time doing winter sports.

“When it gets cold outside, I love to go skiing,” said Bruce.

While some people do sports, others partake in different outside activities.

“We g o outside and build snowmen. I don’t know why we do, but we have been doing it for some time,” said Woods.

Besides Christmas, another religious holiday that is widely celebrated in many different ways is Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday.

“I celebrate Hanukkah by reciting prayers and lighting the number of candles on the menorah for each night. We give and get gifts throughout the eight days of Hanukkah. We also go to our synagogue to listen to the story of Hanukkah and read our Torah. I go to the synagogue to hear lessons and stories from our Rabbi ...I also make traditional Jewish dishes for the holiday. I go to friends’ houses to celebrate the night of Hanukkah and party,” said senior Andrew Ferdig.

Senior Adele Colson celebrates Hanukkah similar to Ferdig, but also spends time with younger kids in her family playing games that match their religious traditiions.

“I celebrate Hanukkah with my family and Christmas with our extended family. During Hanukkah, we light a candle for eight crazy nights. With younger kids, we will play the dreidel game for chocolate coins called gelt,” said senior Adele Colson.

The eight nights combine eating lots of food with the celebration of night.

“We mostly eat a lot of fried food because that’s what Hanukkah is celebrating, along with it being the celebration of light. We eat fried potato pancakes called latkes and donuts, or anything else fried,’ said Colson.

Senior Matthew Jezak and junior Ben Brand pose for a photo in front of a sunset after a day on the slopes on Dec. 8.

Colson’s family still acknowledges Christmas as a holiday, and does things on Christmas Eve to celebrate it.

“A weird Jewish custom is on Christmas eve, many Jewish people eat Chinese food because of the acceptance of the American holiday,” said Colson.

Many different traditions are celebrated during the holiday season, and Ferdig’s biggest takeaway is that all should be looked at as equal.

“All people should know is that Hanukkah means something to the people who celebrate it just as their religious holiday does to them,” said Ferdig.

The holidays are a special time for friends and family, and they are celebrated differently by everyone.

“The holidays are all about spending time with family and getting to teach others about my own customs and celebrations,” said Colson.

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