East Students share Christmas traditions

East students share their special Christmas traditions.

Courtesy of diolli.com

East students share their special Christmas traditions.

Ah, Christmas. The holly jolly holiday that so many look forward to. All of the food, presents, family, and friends. For such a big holiday that happens every year, traditions are inevitable. Most, if not all, traditions involve family, maybe even friends, and some may be simple while others have a more cultural or religious aspect to them.

Ariana Santiago’s (‘22) family has a simple yet fun tradition. “Every year we have a giant party on Christmas Eve and basically stay up till the next day,” Santiago said. “Not the little kids, though.” They then open their presents together, talking about them and showing off their gifts. Santiago’s family then has a big meal together, and afterwards they go to bed to catch up on that sleep they missed by staying up. They’ve been doing this since before Santiago was born, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll die out anytime soon. After all, it seems like so much fun!

Ellie Noh (‘24) and her family also have a rather simple tradition, but as her cultural heritage can be seen in their tradition, it’s all the more special to them as a Korean American family. Half of their tradition is what you’d see in the average American household. “We always put up a Christmas tree together, like one or two people just don’t do it. Everyone has to,” said Noh. “And sometimes we play yut nori.” Yut nori is a traditional Korean game consisting of four, slightly thick, smooth wooden sticks called yuts. If one side is upward with the flat side facing down, it’s called ‘Do’ (pronounced like “dough). Two facing upwards two facing downwards is ‘Gae,’ then three is ‘Geol’ and all four facing upwards is ‘Yut.’ All four flat sides facing upwards are ‘Mo.’ Noh’s family sure knows how to have some fun with their tradition!

Kiran Muttathil’s (‘23) family has a rather fun tradition as well, but theirs includes the many members of their family. Their Christmas starts rather normally. Kiran and her three siblings open stockings, presents, and read the bible together as a family. Afterwards, they go up to New York to see their cousins, and that’s when the party starts. She and all of her siblings, along with her fifteen cousins, do secret santa every year. “It’s like my favorite thing,” Muttathil said. “It’s sad that we can’t go this year, it’s always a lot of fun.” Here’s to hoping that her family, among many others in the world, will be able to celebrate with families next year!
Mariela Fasnacht’s (‘23) family has a fun-filled tradition. They invite friends and family over a couple days before Christmas for a night of snacks, music, and a traditional game of theirs. “We read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and pass gifts on the word ‘and’,” said Mariela Fasnacht. “It’s so much fun.” Fasnacht’s family goes out every year and buys all sorts of small, fun gifts, ranging all the way from slime to socks to highlighters. All her friends and family sit in a big circle in the living room, and her grandfather reads the book. Everybody is handed a gift, and whenever he says the word ‘and,’ you pass the gift to whoever is on your right. At the end of the book, you get to keep the gift you end with! A tradition like this is sure to never fail with bringing a smile to your face!

Many of these sweet and fun traditions involve all the people you love and care about, but COVID-19 was a real grinch and snuffed all hopes of a normal Christmas. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate our traditions, no matter how simple or elaborate. After all, we should never let a bit of green evil snuff out our holiday spirit.