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Collegian picks: Favorite Christmas traditions

Regardless of your religion (or lack thereof), Christmas is a day that is so pervasive, it’s basically unavoidable. For some of us, the annual gift-giving day gets tiresome. Some decide to focus on what’s important, like family and togetherness, while others opt for a less traditional day. Either way, most people have developed their own unique traditions to celebrate the holiday. Here are some of The Collegian staff’s favorite Christmas traditions. 

Elena Waldman

My Christmas tradition has remained the same for several years. Once upon a time, I realized my husband needed a gold chain for his watch, but I was too broke to buy it for him. I felt bad, so I sold my long hair in exchange for the chain. Unbeknownst to me, my husband sold his gold watch to buy a comb for my long hair. We have done this every year on accident. Also, this never happened and is an urban legend. I am Jewish! 


Lauryn Bolz

Even though I’m a third-generation American, my grandparents still like to keep our Norwegian traditions alive during the holidays, even if the rest of us find them to be a bit strange. My favorite part of these traditions, though, is the lefse. There really is nothing better than a potato tortilla slathered in butter and drowned in sugar to eat throughout the night. It definitely would not feel like Christmas without it. 

I am Jewish.” -Elena Waldman, director of Arts and Culture

Jack Taylor 

I bake cinnamon rolls the night before Christmas, so they’re all nice and hot in the morning. We usually have ham on Christmas Eve. I try to get my parents to let us open one gift on Christmas Eve, but they say no every year. 

Ty Davis 

My stepfather does this really weird thing where instead of filling stockings with candy or other treats, he fills stockings with hygiene items like body wash, razors and toothpaste. We have no idea why or how this tradition started, but he still does it to this day.

Graham Shapley

My family’s most important tradition in the winter season is tamale day, wherein we gather as many family members as possible and mass produce hundreds of tamales. Our current record is 620 in one day. Following this event, all we eat for a week is tamales.

Scotty Powell

My family’s most sacred holiday tradition is going out into the woods and finding the crummiest, most lopsided tree we can to bring back home and set up in our living room. We feel this is a fun and festive way to give the middle finger to traditionalism, as well as to showcase our unique brand of dysfunctionality.

Matt Campbell

My family doesn’t really have many traditions. We’re all pretty low-key. My mom does make cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning, which is a part of Christmas I’m always looking forward to! Really, I’m just looking forward to hanging out with my family, going to Christmas parties and petting my dog.

I love having a big family to celebrate the holidays with; it makes it more enjoyable.” -Emily Pisqui, Arts and Culture reporter

Leo Friedman

Since I’m Jewish, my family and I don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas. However, we still get together as a family and get food from our favorite Chinese American restaurant every time Dec. 25 rolls around. This is an oddly common tradition for a lot of Jewish American families, and we like to keep it going every year.  

Emily Pisqui

My family always gets together with my aunt and uncle for a white elephant Christmas party. Each year we choose a theme for the white elephant. Last year it was as seen on TV things; it was hilarious. My aunt loves going all out for the holiday, so she always caters, has chocolate fondue and makes the best drinks. We play family board games and play with the VR set my uncle got. We get together for this white elephant party two or three days before Christmas, depending on everyone’s schedule. I love having a big family to celebrate the holidays with; it makes it more enjoyable. Another favorite tradition is my mom and I choosing a TV show to binge watch during winter break and seeing how far into the series we can get. This year we are doing “Game of Thrones.” Even though we’ve seen the show already, I’m looking forward to it.

Autumn Sorrentino

I have a pretty big family, with at least 100 cousins (and, more than likely, several more that we don’t know about). Every year, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we get everyone together for the annual Rook tournament. We play a card game called Rook for about 18 hours straight in several teams of two. The winners have a trophy that they get to keep for the entire year until the next Rook tournament. It’s so serious that, back in the day, people weren’t allowed to talk during gameplay. Now, it’s a little more eased up, but children under 13 still aren’t really allowed to play (and if they do, they aren’t taken very seriously). 


My aunts Keri and Mindy have won for three years in a row. Last year, they did a photoshoot with the trophies and gave out calendars with the pictures — the only holidays on the entire calendar were their birthdays. This year, they made a ring commemorating their victories. Please, if one of you is reading this, let the rest of us have a chance. I’m begging you. 

The Arts and Culture staff can be reached at

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