Christmas in a [chest]nutshell

Teachers share their holiday traditions


Holiday traditions are different all around the world and even between families. Any family traditions a family celebrates during the holidays is bound to be one-of-a-kind and special to them and their family. We asked high school teachers to share their memories of their families’ holiday traditions.

“One thing that I remember when I was a child was wrapping paper fights. After we would open our presents, we would use our wrapping paper that our presents were wrapped in and throw it at each other. The goal was to throw it at someone without them noticing who it was!”

“My favorite memory was spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and relatives.”

“My absolute favorite holiday is the Feast of the Seven Fishes [an Italian Christmas celebration] that we celebrate on Christmas Eve. We have scaled that holiday down since my grandparents have both passed away, but it was always my most favorite day of the year… for the celebration and the food! Even if it is scaled down now, it is still my favorite tradition associated with the holiday season and one that I look forward to all year long. One of the traditions that we did have when my sister and I were kids, and one that I would like to start with my own daughter, is the Christmas book tradition. Every year, on the first day of December, my parents would put a stack of 24 wrapped books under the tree. Each night, my sister and I would take turns picking one book from the pile and then we would all sit in the living room in the front of the tree and read the story while drinking hot chocolate. It was kind of like an Advent countdown using books instead of chocolate. For a while, the books were Christmas based, but that only lasted so long.”

“It wasn’t really a tradition but it was something I did every year. My mom would hide my unwrapped presents in the same place every year. I would always sneak and look at what I was getting each year before she wrapped them. One year…spur of the moment on Christmas Eve, my mom packed-up the car with all of our presents and drove us to Washington D.C. to spend Christmas morning with my aunts [and] uncles. We were rushing to get to D.C. and get to bed so that Santa could arrive.
Traditions have been passed down by generations and have become more special as the years go on. Childhood traditions often travel with people to their adult years, but there also are special circumstances that become traditions.

“My favorite holiday tradition is competing in a gingerbread house competition against my family. Every year since we started (about three years ago), my fiancé and I have always won. We usually build them on Christmas Eve, then when the rest of the family is around for Christmas, we showcase our skills!”