Holiday cheer unites families to celebrate their unique and special traditions. Whether it is making gingerbread houses or watching a movie, we all have something special we do for the holidays. These holiday traditions are very important, as they bring families together, they shape the way we celebrate the holidays, and they might even date back many years to our ancestors who started them!
Surprisingly, many of the things most people do today to celebrate the holidays originated more recently than you think. A classic Christmas tradition is to leave out milk and cookies for Santa, but that tradition only dates back to the 1930s, during the Great Depression. This was done to show respect and gratitude to Santa Claus during hard times. Ugly sweaters are also a pretty recent tradition. It was an ironic theme at parties in the 1980s and it stuck around, for better or for worse.
How do these traditions come about, and why do we celebrate them each year? Well, it’s a little more complicated than you would think. Holiday traditions go through a sort of natural selection. The tacky and odd traditions are left behind, but the ones that are fun and more interesting seem to gain popularity. One of the earliest Christmas traditions was to eat candy canes or hang them up on Christmas trees. Speaking of which, the Christmas tree itself is one of the first Christmas traditions! All of these traditions give the holidays some spirit and meaningfulness.
Some people have their own traditions that are unique to only their families. Ruben Paredes, a 17 year old junior at WHS, says that his tradition is to celebrate Christmas morning with his dad’s side of the family, and then spend Christmas dinner with his mom’s side of the family. He says the tradition is important to his family, because it “[Started] through my Grandmother to stay connected to my Grandfather’s side of the family after he died, and to [stay] connected with her immediate family.” It seems like many traditions are related to spending time together with your family. Shah Mahamed Sarwari, another student at WHS says that they sleep over with their cousins because “at times we don’t see our cousins [for a while] and it’s nice to hang out and have fun.”
The Holidays are a time of spreading joy and love to others. They are a time of celebration, and spending time with those we care about. While not every tradition is the same, we all know that each holiday tradition is special to our friends and family, and that’s the holiday spirit.