by Kyra Siano
During the Christmas season, families and friends across the globe participate in traditions to celebrate and prepare for the big man to come down the chimney. These traditions may include certain movies, foods, games, special gifts, destinations and much more.
1. Advent Calendar: Advent calendars date back to 19th century Germany and are still a common tradition today (http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/). An advent calendar has 24 days, one for each night leading up to Christmas. Each day, children open a small door on the calendar and find a piece of candy, chocolate, or a small toy inside. “I really like chocolate,” says sophomore Julian Dixon. “I don’t really participate in traditions but I think I’d be a fan of this one”, he said. Advent Calendars are a fun way of keeping kids entertained as they anticipate Christmas Day.
2. Gingerbread Men: This activity typically pertains to small children; however, this simple craft can be fun for people of all ages. Decorating a gingerbread house is usually accompanied by decorating gingerbread men or Christmas cookies, with sprinkles, frosting, and small candies. NAHS junior Kelsey Mood said, “I actually plan on making a gingerbread house this weekend!” Common Christmas cookie shapes are snowflakes, trees, bells, angels, and mistletoe, and you can purchase these cookie cutters at craft stores. If you’re feeling daring, you can shape the sides of the gingerbread house yourself, but for those of us who are not as crafty, store-bought gingerbread house kits are sold at local grocery stores.
3. Going to look at Christmas Lights: Whether you drive around town, or go to a Christmas destination, there are many options available for seeing beautiful colored lights on trees to get you in the Christmas Spirit. Many people visit LaSalette shrine in Attleboro, which offers a walkthrough of nativity scenes, lights, decorations, and hot chocolate. Another destination which is geared more towards younger children is Edaville Railroad in Carver, MA. A train ride takes you through various illuminated Christmas scenes, which ends with the iconic “Greetings From Edaville” sign on the side of the lake. No matter where you go, lights and trees are a fun way to spend time with friends and family as you prepare for the big day.
4. The Christmas Pickle: An old German tradition is to hang a glass pickle ornament on the tree. An adult hangs this pickle and it is the last one hung on the tree. The kids will then search for the pickle and the child who finds it receives an extra gift, gets to open the first gift, or is granted a year of good luck. There are many theories associated with the Christmas pickle, but what matters most is that it provides children with an opportunity to admire the tree and spend some extra time bonding with family on Christmas morning. If you’re interested in purchasing a Christmas pickle, you can get one at Target or Crate and Barrel.
5. Christmas Crackers: These small paper packages are fun for the whole family. They have two ends which get pulled, and when cracked, they create a spark and a popping or crackling sound. A small toy or gift will pop out of the cracker for the person who pulled it. The gift is usually a paper crown to symbolize the three wise men, and jokes are also included inside the cracker. These are a fun way to get the little ones excited, and spark up some family bonding while celebrating the Christmas spirit. “My family always uses these on Christmas Eve,” says Ryan Siano. “It gets a little chaotic with the popping, but in the end we all laugh and wear the paper crowns,” he added.
Whether you celebrate for months or weeks, with a large family or with friends, these Christmas traditions are always in season and will surely bring happiness and joy to all.