Family is the Best Gift
By Anna Muenchen
An event where the “hot” items go on sale for a limited time only, Black Friday spans over three days: Thanksgiving night, Friday morning and Cyber Monday. The Black Friday shopping frenzy sparks the idea that the holiday season means presents under the tree or by the menorah on the table. However, students at Kings have different traditions that show the reason they celebrate the way they do. Presents are not the meaning of Christmas to them.Daniel Para, a senior at Kings, explains why he celebrates Christmas, “I mean we are a Latin family. We of course celebrate Christmas.” Christmas to him is “a time to just be nice to someone.
You know, to just ignore the bad things in the world, to say I’m gonna make it a good day. I’m gonna make someone happy. I’m gonna make someone smile. I think my favorite tradition, at least in my family, is when we all get together the night before Christmas to have a party, and on New Year’s we all eat grapes and maybe have a little wine.”
For Zori Graham, a senior at Kings, Christmas is not presents under the tree and running from store to store on Black Friday. For her, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.
“It’s the big holiday of the year, Christmas is a time to reconnect with people you don’t get to see a lot, and figure out what you’re thankful for,” said Graham.
Happiness is the word she’d use to describe the holiday season. “Everything is so like, joyful, and warm.” Getting out of school for the break, going home to family, awaiting the memories of Christmas past, and creating new memories is the best part of the Holiday according to Graham. One of her favorite Christmas traditions includes baking cookies. “I make buckeyes every year.” She also watches Home Alone with her grandma every year who laughs just as hard every time. She shares a special dinner with her family on Christmas Eve. “Hungarian food, perogies and borscht, and there’s a contest over who can eat the most perogies,” said Graham.
Christmas traditions have a whole new meaning for AJ Feldstein, a senior at Kings. Not only does he celebrate Christmas, the spirit of giving, but also Hanukkah, the everlasting light.
“Well I was raised Christian, but since my dad is Jewish he didn’t want us to forget the culture of his family, so we celebrate both. Christmas with my mom’s side and Hanukkah with my dad’s side,” said Feldstein.
The one word he’d use to describe the season is enchanting. Getting gifts may be one of the best things about the Holidays but his favorite tradition is spending time with family that he doesn’t get to see often. “We go on a crazy light tour. I think it’s near Cincinnati, just South of us, where a few houses decorate their homes to the max with lights. It’s completely tacky.”
His family loves to round out the evening at Pit to Plate Barbecue each year. As for Hanukkah, “There’s not really much of a tradition, but every night we do light the menorah lights and with that we usually open one Christmas gift but only on the first and last night of Hanukkah, even though it’s supposed to be a gift for each of the eight nights,” said Feldstein.
“Since there’s no set date for Hanukkah, and that it’s based off of the moon cycle, it can start near Thanksgiving or go over Christmas. It’s funny though, one side of the house is menorahs and dreidels, and one side has the Christmas tree and decorations.”
Whether Christmas or Hanukkah is celebrated, giving gifts is not the reason these students celebrate during the holidays. At Kings, the spirit of family is more alive than ever. Dr. Seuss could not have said it better, “Maybe Christmas, he thought…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more!”