The winter season is almost here, and with it comes special holiday traditions. Whether it’s Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, students and staff at Patrick M. Villano School is looking forward to celebrating.
“My favorite holiday has always been Christmas. There are so many things I love about it,” explained Elisabeth Hill, a fifth-grade teacher. “I love that it is a holiday season, not just a day. I wish we all left our outdoor lights up year-round because they just seem to evoke a sense of joy and warmth.”
Aside from putting up holiday lights every year, Hill has other family traditions that take her back to when she was a child.
“My favorite Christmas songs are the “oldies”. They remind me of my childhood – baking Christmas cookies with my mom, picking out our tree with my dad,” Hill explains. “And being a parent has made Christmas even more wonderful because I get to see the excitement and joy in my children’s eyes as we bring out our decorations and carry on the cookie baking and tree-selecting traditions I had as a child.”
Christmas is celebrated on December 25 each year. It has been celebrated in the United States since 1870, and it is a time that Christians celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
Sixth-grader Ariella Ceylan also has favorite traditions of this holiday.
“My favorite holiday is Christmas. I love this holiday because I enjoy spending time with my family,” said Ceylan. “I also like to do Christmas related activities such as Secret Santa with my cousins and friends.”
Kim Biggs, a fifth-grade teacher, explains that her favorite holiday tradition involves creativity and food.
“We have a gingerbread competition each year,” Biggs explained. “The cousins team up in groups of two and we work together to build our houses. After our time limit is up, we send pictures to our uncle who lives in Florida to be the judge.”
Biggs said the winners get to be the first people in line the next day to pile up our plates with Christmas dinner.
Hanukkah is another holiday celebrated by students and staff. It’s an eight-day Jewish celebration that involves the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games, and gifts. This year, Hanukkah starts on December 10 and ends on December 18.
Lastly, Kwanzaa is another holiday people celebrate, celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, and large meals. This year, Kwanzaa starts on December 26 and ends on January 1, 2021.