Photo Credit: Winsome Storm/Achona Online/Piktochart
Every year as the temperature gets colder, people all over the nation get out their Christmas decorations and begin to count down the days to Christmas. The Christmas tree is a recognizable staple in Christmas celebrations all over, along with many other traditions. What exactly are common traditions and different ways of celebrating them though?
Christmas trees are either fake or real. Those who purchase real trees usually go to buy the perfect tree with their family every year. Both fake and real tree owners decorate the trees with colorful ornaments, creating a hodgepodge of purchased and homemade ornaments.
“I like my aesthetic Christmas tree because it looks nice,” said Camila Gonzales (‘23) about her lovely Christmas tree.
In more recent years though, the aesthetic Christmas tree is gaining popularity, pushing aside the traditional Christmas tree. These trees usually have a theme to match a house’s interior to make the Christmas tree blend in naturally. For example, a tree with a silver and gold theme might have garland, lights, and ornaments of different sizes all in silver and gold. While these trees look pretty and perfect for Pinterest, some people think they don’t have the charm that the traditional Christmas tree does with the random assortment of ornaments. However, some prefer their Christmas tree to be uniform and matching the room, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
More Christmas traditions involve what people believe to be the actual meaning of the holiday. Christians believe that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’s birth, so many will attend mass on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day to celebrate this occasion.
“My family celebrates Christmas by going to mass on Christmas Eve and then celebrating with my dad’s side of the family. On Christmas morning we open presents and spend the day with my mom’s side of the family. We end the day with a formal,” said Meagan Vericker (’24).
Others don’t really put an emphasis on the religious history of the holiday and instead focus on giving gifts and spending time with their families. In some other parts of the world, Christmas carries no religious meaning because of how commercialized it is, and people will celebrate it by gifting presents. In fact, Christmas trees date back to pagan traditions, a lot of things we associate with Christmas are pagan elements.
A big part of Christmas is all of the presents we give and receive. While it is custom to wait until Christmas morning to open everything, there are people who open one or all of them on Christmas Eve. Christmas dinner is also a big thing, some people like to have a formal dinner on Christmas night, or do it on Christmas Eve.
“On Christmas Eve I go to my aunt’s house and spend time with them opening presents and having a feast. Then, that same night I go to my grandparents’ house and we make hot cocoa and enjoy each other’s company until about midnight. The next morning I wake up to my brother telling me to get up so that we can wake up our parents. We wake them up, open presents, and head back to my grandparents’ house to open more presents and enjoy a Cuban style breakfast that my Abuela makes,” said Julia Dean (‘23) about her Christmas schedule.
Overall, Christmas is a big staple of the American winter season now, with preparations for the holiday beginning as early as mid-October in department stores, and certain traditions come with it every year. How a person celebrates Christmas is up to them, but overall the meaning of Christmas shines through–a time to give and spend time with family and friends.