The holidays are a time for trees adorned in lights, lit menorahs, abundant gifts, family time and lots of great food. Sometimes families have special and unique ways to celebrate setting themselves apart.
A popular German-American legend is the one of the pickle ornament. Around the late 1800s, Woolworth began selling fruit and vegetable shaped ornaments from Germany. Someone claimed that it was a German tradition to hang a pickle as the last ornament on the tree, and since then, it has become a popular widespread American tradition.
Sophomore Emily Gaspar, who is a 1st generation Hungarian said: “We celebrate the Hungarian ‘Szent Mikulás’-or St. Nicholas Day on December 6.” Gaspar’s family sets out boots on their front porch for ‘Szent Mikulás’ to come fill up with sweets. Whether or not they get sweets depends on whether they’re naughty or nice, which is very similar to the American idea of Santa Claus.
Sophomore Lee Watts’ family has created a little friendly competition.
“On Christmas, whenever my family (members) call each other, we have to say ‘Christmas gift’, and whoever says it first wins,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
In Canada, many celebrate Boxing Day-which is traditionally when churches would open alms boxes for the poor. The holiday originated in the UK almost a millennium ago.
“I always have Christmas breakfast and go to an annual Boxing Day party,” sophomore Violet Rumble said.
Rumble’s mother’s best friend has kept up the Boxing Day tradition for years.
Some families, like sophomore Kylie Nifong’s, create traditions to bring themselves closer to each other.
“Every Christmas my family stands in a circle holding candles, and each person says what they’re thankful for, then passes the flame,” Nifong said. “My mom cries every time.”
Sophomore Sophia Donadio adds something special to the usual post-Christmas cleanup.
“After Christmas, we set our tree on fire,” Donadio said. Her family started this tradition years ago when they were having a normal bonfire after Christmas, and someone decided to throw the tree in. “It’s a unique tradition…and the fire is always entertaining.”
To celebrate the New Year, many people of Latin American descent wear colorful underwear on New Year’s Eve into the New Year for good luck. Different colors symbolize different achievements and desires, and although it’s traditionally Latin American, the whimsical tradition has spread throughout the United States.
Whether they are culturally traditional or family-oriented traditions, there are many unique ways to share in the holidays.