Burros share holiday traditions


Contributed photo

A throwback picture of sophomore Addie Gerber showcases her family’s traditional visit with Santa Claus.

Every holiday season brings along its well-loved traditions. From making peppermint cocoa to tree decorating, building gingerbread houses to staying up with younger siblings to await Santa Claus’ elusive arrival, every winter has its staple celebrations. The holidays are always about the universal ways that so many different people celebrate together across the world, and how the bottom line usually regards making unforgettable memories with family. But some families like to push traditions a little further, straying from the norm in their own unique ways.

“When I was younger, my family had a unique tradition of going to Knott’s Berry Farm every Christmas Eve,” said senior Trinity Pimentel. 

Instead of doing the more common staying-at-home usually attributed to the holidays, she recalls spending her time in the amusement park, riding roller coasters rather than riding sleds.

“We would spend the whole day there, going on as many rides as we could and eating as much food as possible,” said Pimentel. “But the most memorable tradition was how we always saved a ride for last: The Ghostrider.” 

It seems amusing to spend the day before her family’s Christmas celebration on a roller coaster known for being scary, but that is where the charm lies. 

“One of my best memories is actually trying to get on the ride for the first time,” said Pimentel. “I was too short to actually be allowed on the ride at the time, so I had balled up my socks under my heels to appear taller. It actually worked, but for many reasons, I do not publicly endorse this.” 

Looking back on these memories is the most valuable reason to make them in the first place. 

“Those trips let me have great memories to look back on and laugh at,” said Pimentel.

While families can opt for more wild traditions, some stick to efficient ones that make space and time for more family time. One example can be found in senior Elaine Stewart’s family. 

“Instead of the traditional family dinner experience of everyone cooking together before the big meal, we like to prepare the food during the days before,” said Stewart. “This preparation ahead of time makes it so we can spend more quality time together on Christmas Day instead of spending it miserably in the kitchen. With all that time, we’re able to watch holiday movies, play our board games, and just make up for the times we miss during our day-to-day lives.” 

It’s easy to get caught up in hectic daily life during the year. Arguably, there isn’t much better than breaks from school and staying in with family away from the cold outside. 

“My favorite memories are the ones where we’re all together, basking in the warmth of one another when we usually can’t,” said Stewart.

Some traditions may die out but it leaves plenty of room for new ones to be added into the annual rotation. After all, that is how traditions start— a new thing is tried and if it goes well, it gets added to the to-do list for the next year. Rinse and repeat. The most memorable parts of the holidays aren’t the gifts everyone looks forward to but the mental souvenirs to be cherished a few years down the line.

“Usually, our winter holidays are spent in Arizona, where my dad’s side of the family lives,” said sophomore Amanda Huynh. “Ever since I can remember, we would pack up our suitcases and cram into our car, hitting the road for nine hours to arrive at my aunt and uncle’s house.” 

But sometimes, traditions have to change. 

“My aunt and uncle moved to Texas this year, so our holidays will be a little different this year. A lot more to the east, too,” said Huynh. 

This change of tradition really challenges the flow of normal life, but at the end of the day, the holidays are rarely about where it is located but whom it is spent with.

“One of the great traditions that my wife’s family partakes in is getting together at my wife’s cousin’s house for a huge get-together,” said English Professor David Gerber. “This tradition has been going on since the Sixties: Santa Claus always comes to visit. The same Santa has always come to bring presents for our family, including gag gifts and such.” 

The responsibility of carrying on traditions is one that newer generations will have to decide on taking up, so the involvement of kids from an early age is something often incorporated into tradition. 

“It’s a whole big production and everyone gets involved, including the kids. And every year, the elves grow up until they’ve all gone off to college. The new kids take their place and the tradition lives on,” said Gerber.

Whether the traditions your family participates in are unique or universal, the holidays are meant to be celebrated together. So maybe start a new tradition this year, something to fill albums with and look forward to every next year. Or continue decorating those pine trees, because the classic holiday traditions are classics for a reason and never truly lose their luster.