By Ella Javorsky
The fall and winter holidays are all approaching at a rapid pace, and each student has their own traditions and ways of celebrating that make their holidays special. These special moments bring cheer and unity to families, as they partake in their own customs and bond with one another.
In late November comes Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on all you have. Everyone is grateful to be with loved ones, and for all the happiness in life. Many students either travel or host relatives for a big feast that unifies the family. These meals turn into traditions that last for many years. I have hosted Thanksgiving all fifteen years of my life, and each year it is a tradition that my grandparents sleep over the night before, and my grandma and I share the neck of the turkey the following day. Even the smallest traditions like this one make Thanksgiving so special, and is a bond my grandma and I share. Freshman Samantha Gershuny explains how every year she spends Thanksgiving at her grandmas house, who always makes the kids go around the table and say what they are thankful for, as well as read a story related to the holiday. She explains that “This tradition is one I hope to continue, for spending time with all of my family and reflecting on what I’m grateful for is something I value greatly.” Another tradition my family shares during the holiday, is that each year we volunteer at our family friends charity event, where we prepare tons of food that will be served the next day to those who don’t have a place to go on Thanksgiving, and can’t afford a proper meal. Participating in this meaningful event and giving back to the community makes us feel very proud, aware of those less fortunate, and also thankful for all that we have.
Following Thanksgiving comes the December religious holidays as well as the New Year. With students celebrating a variety of religious holidays, their ways of observing differ from one another. However, no matter the holiday, all act in unifying families and spreading love and joy. Freshman Olivia Corpina describes her Christmas experience, “The feeling of waking up on Christmas is indescribable. I cannot put into words the excitement and happiness I experience. Many think the presents is what makes the holiday amazing, but family is the true reason. Spending time with family on Christmas is different to any other time we share as a family. Everyone is so excited to be with each other and grateful for the company.” She emphasizes the fact that spending time and building memories with loved ones is what makes the holiday special, not the gifts. I get a similar feeling when celebrating Hanukkah with my family. We all come together to embrace our religion and celebrate the holiday. The memories we make that hold a special place in my heart, and will never be forgotten. Finally, the New Year allows everyone to reminisce on their year, and set goals for the upcoming year. Students spend time with relatives and family friends, celebrating all they have accomplished throughout the year. They are hopeful and excited for a new beginning filled with opportunities.
All students celebrate the fall and winter holidays in their own unique way, which makes them memorable and specific to the family. Throughout the holiday season, there are constant feelings of cheer, gratitude, appreciation, and affection. It is a time spent with those you care for and love.