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Experiences

Celebrating the Holidays and Our Unique Traditions

We all have our own traditions – it is what connects us as people. Whether they are passed down from generation to generation or simply created with our friends, we go through life introducing and passing on traditions whether we know it or not.

The feeling of nostalgia is at its peak during the holiday season and being away from home, the lead up to the holidays looks and feels different than it has previously. This is the same feeling I had right before the holiday season in 9th grade – change causes us to long for the familiarity in the simple traditions that we have with our loved ones. For me, the upcoming holiday season has me longing for the walk through Downtown Toronto with my parents and brother as we do some Christmas shopping, before watching a Christmas show at the Elgin and Winter Garden theatre. I am longing for the smell of fresh cinnamon buns and coffee that mark my family’s Christmas mornings, while we open gifts, and my brother and I are forced to take pictures together. 

Here is a glimpse into just a handful of the many incredibly special traditions that exist…

“For Latinos, The Christmas season is not marked by a cozy morning on the 25th, but a lively celebration the night before. My Christmas memories are all from the 24th of December. My family always hosted growing up, so from noon on Christmas Eve the Christmas music turned on and the preparations began. Christmas food was a big deal in my house – mash potatoes and lots of bread and some sort of pork. But for the kids, the most exciting part was when the clock struck midnight. As people showed up and there was laughter and eating, and at some point, my dad would bring out his guitar for some sort of impromptu sing along, my cousins and I anxiously stared at whatever Christmas movie was put on and waited until we could open gifts. Presents had to be opened at midnight – no later. This meant that festivities usually didn’t end until the early hours of the morning; my Christmas memories are marked by me, 7 years old, staying awake by drinking copious amounts of ginger ale and sitting in the midst of a warm room bursting with love, joy, and salsa.”

–   Elizabeth Gonzalez

“A few things that my family and I do to get into the festive spirit are picking out a tree and decorating it together, going Christmas shopping, and having a Christmas movie night (normally Elf). Picking out a tree is normally one of the first things we do in December and then we decorate the house and tree together and listen to Christmas music. This always makes it start to feel like Christmas to me! Christmas shopping is so fun, the shops are all decorated, and the music is playing. It always feels so festive. Then when it gets closer to Christmas, we have a movie night. We make hot chocolate with whipped cream, get all the good snacks, and then settle down to watch a movie together. My mom loves Elf so that is normally the movie that gets chosen. That’s how my family and I celebrate the holidays!”

–   Bethany Robinson

“Christmas in my family is a HUGE deal. Decorations, cookies, and a large Christmas dinner are all part of the fun. One tradition our family has is that we eat our big dinner on Christmas eve to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday! My dad grew up eating it on the 24th and we kept the tradition. Makes Christmas day very relaxing. Another fun tradition is on Christmas Eve after dinner we walk around the neighbourhood to see all the lights and the snow.”

–   Sidney Secord

“When I think of the holiday season, I think of warm bright lights and spending time with friends and family. Growing up celebrating Hanukkah, my fondest memories always revolve around lighting the Hanukkiah (often called the menorah). After sundown for eight nights my family and I all gather and light the candles spreading warmth and light. In my family, Hanukkah often includes gathering with extended family members for brunch and for parties filled with lots of delicious food! At these gatherings you can often find us playing a game of dreidel, betting on Hanukkah gelt or just enjoying each other’s company while eating latkes (potato pancakes). Celebrating Hanukkah with my friends and family is what makes the holiday season special to me!”

–   Lauren Soudack

But truly, the best part about traditions is that they are unique to us, in the way that they were created and continually celebrated!

Jasmine Rana

Dalhousie '24

Jasmine is a Campus Correspondent and the President of Her Campus at Dalhousie University. Majoring in marketing, she is extremely interested in content creation and story telling, as interpersonal connection and relatability is extremely important in today’s world. When she isn’t working on creating content she can be found out at brunch, planning her dream home via Pinterest, or listening to her new favourite song on repeat for the next week.
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