Holiday traditions

by Autumn Marrinan

Another year and Christmas is just around the corner. After Thanksgiving the tree, the decorations, and the lights go up and you can already begin to feel the spirit of Christmas all around. As soon as December is here the countdown begins, 25 days till Christmas! The holiday carols are playing and the letters to Santa are off! Christmas isn’t just about getting the gift you desire, the glistening snow , or the sleigh bells. Christmas is a holiday about giving with an open heart. It’s when you forget about yourself and put others first. Along with Christmas comes many practices and traditions. To truly understand the traditions of Christmas you must first get to know the history of the holiday that most tend to describe as jolly.

Christmas is a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. Many customs of Christmas are based on the birth of Jesus Christ. But some of the ways people celebrate Christmas have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. The reason people began to give each other gifts was because of the Three Wise Men whom had brought presents to the baby Jesus. Christmas is both a religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. They gather the family together to unwrap gifts and to spend quality time together.  Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870 but was known to be celebrated long before.

There are some traditions that everyone seems to do and others that only certain families do every year. The original well known traditions are mostly putting up the Christmas tree, lights, decorations, and giving gifts to others.The tradition of gift giving and hanging up stockings came from St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century, he was a very rich man because the money he had received after his parents died when he was young. He was known to be a very kind man who had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to the people who needed them. One of the most famous stories told by people about St. Nicholas is the one about a poor man who had three daughters. The man didn’t have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters weren’t able to be married. One night,St. Nick secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house of the poor man’s. The bag of gold fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire so that it could dry. He gave them the gold so his daughters could get married. St. Nicholas repeated with the rest of the daughters. Now when you think of Santa Claus don’t forget to remember all the tradition of St. Nicholas because without him there wouldn’t be any Santa or traditions of gift giving and hanging up stockings.20161215_194706

Germany has been known to have started the Christmas tree tradition. A German preacher was known to be the first person to bring a  Christmas Tree into a house in the 16th century. An evergreen fir tree is traditionally what is used to celebrate winter festivals and has been for years. Christians used the evergreen fir tree as a sign of an everlasting life with God. If people weren’t able to afford a real tree, they made pyramids out of wood and they were decorated to look like they were a tree, they used paper, apples and candles to make it look more realistic.34078

The tradition of Christmas lights goes back to the custom use of candles that were lit for a few minutes at night, Christian homes used them to decorate their Christmas trees. The candles in the window indicated to other Christians that the house was one of a Christian family and that other Christians were welcome to come worship with the residents of the home.In 1895 Ralph Morris, invented the first electric Christmas lights, which are similar to the ones we use today. He created them because the dangers of fires that came with candles. Christmas lights were expensive and for many people candles were the only option they had because they didn’t have the money to buy lights. In 1895, the White House electrically lit a Christmas tree for the first time, it was sponsored by President Grover Cleveland. This helped bring national attention to the trend. Christmas lights help light up the dark days of December and have come a very long way since they began back in the 17th century when they were just candles. Now a days there are different types of light sizes offered  and in different colors with several types of patterns they can do. Outdoor Christmas light displays on houses evolved from decorating the Christmas tree and house with candles during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years.20161215_194144

Following all those original traditions comes traditions that only certain families do each year around Christmas time which are more unique. Junior Shelby Houser said “Every year during December we play elf on the shelf, which is when we move around this little elf we have every night so it seems as though it is watching the kids and reporting back to Santa on how naughty or nice their being every night. On Christmas Eve my family and I go out to my aunt’s house for dinner and to open gifts, then on Christmas Day we go out to my great grandparents house to see the whole family. We eat leftovers from my aunts and sing Christmas carols, and play whip out on the Wii. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without that.” Junior Destiny Hastings said “The one big thing my family did was decorate and personalize our stockings before we hung them up. We also made one ornament to hang on the Christmas tree. Every year for Christmas dinner we go out to my grandma’s for ham dinner along with plenty of goodies. The whole family gathers there and we talk about how our year has been.” These are only a couple of family traditions that are celebrated by certain families but there are many more that get celebrated.

Christmas has been celebrated for many years all around the world and won’t ever stop being celebrated. Many traditions have followed Christmas from long ago and have just evolved as time has passed. It is important to never let these legendary traditions die out. So every December remember to always put up the countdown till Christmas and keep the traditions alive.

The Importance of Arts in Education

by Hannah Mildenberger

During my freshman year, I had choir class at the end of one day and guitar class at the end of the other day. Those were the only two classes that I actually looked forward to that year. Everything else was just something I was not interested in.

Then during my sophomore year, I had those two classes again and foundations of art, which were the only classes that I really looked forward to again like the previous year.

Those classes were the best in my own personal opinion. It was a pretty decent break away from logical classes such as any math or science class. I could express my creativity and learn something that doesn’t necessarily have patterns that one had to memorize or a rule that had to be followed. People can just sit down and create art.

I feel that it is unfair that fine art classes such as band, choir or foundations of art may get cut. There is a rumor going around that it may get cut next year. It’s not right that there is even talk about the possibility.

Some people are not interested in farming, businesses, science or mechanics. Not everybody is interested in how to take care of farm animals, how to create the best business they can, how chemical formulas are formed or how to build something. Some people are not naturally skilled at science, farming, businesses or mechanics.

Some people love and enjoy creating and playing music whether it be in a choir, band or simply by playing the guitar. Some people are great at singing and playing instruments and should pursue their dream jobs and ambitions.

One of the many pieces of artwork created in Chelsea Scott's ceramics class.
One of the many pieces of artwork created in Chelsea Scott’s ceramics class.

American history teacher Nelson Schroeder said, “No classes have been targeted that I have heard of. I have no idea why there are rumors about art class being cut. The only reason why there was classes cut before was because that there were no teachers to fill them.”

Art teacher Chelsea Scott said, “When I first started working here there was only seven art classes, but now it increased to 12. The demand for art classes has increased. Most of my classes are full. My smallest class is photography which has 14 students. Art doesn’t get funded, so everything comes out of the students’ pockets or their parents’ so I require $40 to take the class.”

When asked how these people felt about the possibility that art classes such as foundations of art and band for example might get cut were all negative.

Junior Mary Ritter said, “I am not happy about it at all. No, it is not for the best. There are some of us that at the end of the day rely on art to calm our nerves after a stressful day. I look forward to band at the end of the day. I can just go play instruments which is something I enjoy.”

Senior Gabriel Deleon said, “People would lose their jobs and a lot of students connect with each other through the arts classes.”

Senior Victor Ferri said, “I think it’s unnecessary.”

Kimberlee Johnson beams with pride over her ceramic vase.
Kimberlee Johnson beams with pride over her ceramic vase.

None of the art students are going to be happy about it if it does happen and they hope that it doesn’t and it just remains a rumor.

When asked if they thought that it was a good idea to cut some art classes, they all gave good points.

Counselor Lyn Frank said, “Absolutely not. I think that if you were to look at the careers that someone can potentially go into a career as an adult in art is huge like Interior Design and Graphic Design. I think we need to look at it as a solution-based problem.”

Scott said, “Though there is a slim chance of being cut, it isn’t for the best. Creativity is the number one thing that employers look for, so the work force will be more competitive.”

Schroder said, “No, I don’t think it is ever a good idea to cut classes, but at some point something has to give. I think the goal would to be to minimize that impact as much as possible.”

Jobs are necessary to live in society; we can’t just grow our own food and make our own clothes anymore. People cannot just go outside and get the materials they need from nature anymore. They have to go to a store and pay for the product they need which costs money, because stores don’t very often accept trades or bargains.

When asked if she was planning on pursuing a career in art, Ritter said, “Yes. I plan on traveling the country with my band.”

Many people do enjoy the arts enough that they want it to be more than just a hobby; they want to make it into a job. They want to make it into something that they get paid to do and have people enjoy their creations.

Ferri said, “I think they should make the budgets equal. Have more of an equilibrium between the budgets.”

Frank said, “I always look at things as an employer, so I would look at what is most vital for us as educators. I would look and see what is the comparison of people that leave and the amount of money that we spend on their activities such as sports and the number of people that would go into that line of work and some of those other programs such as music and art. I would also look at the impact due to some of those types of curriculum. When I was in school, I learned about the connection between music and mathematics and how it helps our brains to develop those mathematical skills based on the music that we do. I would look at the comparisons on what actually is most impactful to students as well as the employers. I think that maybe they should consider a four-day school week. I realize that there would be issues, but I think that those can be addressed. I would also look at what other schools did and see what they made cuts and how it impacted students and the school community.”

Schroder said, “What they can do or should do isn’t going to be an immediate fix. It’s going to be a long-term recovery to fix the financial issues, because it took a long time to get here. It is not going to turn around overnight. They should find a way to make the legislature look at the financial problems. There are no quick-fixes. This is one of those situations where everybody is gonna have an opinion and very few people are gonna be happy with the outcome. Things that were talked about in the past was adjusting the way the school year operates and adjusting the school day. One of the things that the have done in the past was that if a teacher was to retire, they wouldn’t refill that position. They would just make class sizes a littler larger. Maybe even adjust how much technology they buy and replace.”

Scott said, “Academics should be the last thing to go.”

Students are able to freely express themselves in art classes, such as Scott's ceramics courses.
Students are able to freely express themselves in art classes, such as Scott’s ceramics courses.

There are multiple ways to do the same things. Some may not be as great of a way as other, but some may have the same damage or helpfulness despite it being a different solution. What needs to be looked at is all the possible ways they could do this and know what each will affect what and in what way will it affect it. They need to look at which will cause the least amount of damage and see how all the other schools and districts are handling their financial issues.

Deleon said, “I have no idea what classes I would take if they do.”

Ferri said, “ I am sacrificing my waivers, because I want to take an art class.”

Some people will end up taking classes that they are not even the least bit interested in and in cause, pausing their knowledge on what they are interested in and must wait until college to learn more. This is supposed to be an educational area to learn and to grow.

Frank said, “I think they will be very disappointed and they will feel devalued. I hope that they will give possible alternatives that could be looked at.”

Schroder said, “I don’t think they will be happy. I don’t think anybody will be happy. I wouldn’t be happy, either. For a lot of kids, the art program is the one thing that draws them into the building. For some kids, that is the one part of the day that they actually get to do something that’s enjoyable to them. I wouldn’t think they would be happy and I don’t expect them to be.”

Scott said, “They might not have a reason to come to school anymore. If they do get rid of the art program, then I would move.”

Some students just don’t enjoy sports and other classes and art classes are something to enjoy and be happy about. Art is important as it affects each of our lives individually. The music we enjoy, the physical artwork like sculptures and drawings, and even the designs of our clothing and electronics, and entertainment like books, tv shows, and movies, all affect our lives in one way or another by our likes and dislikes, as well as our experiences. If art classes are taken away, even before some people get to experience them and see if they enjoy them and what they do, then there is just that many less people that will be working in the art careers and will influence the world maybe even less than if they did experience and enjoy the art classes.

“SpArts”–The Struggle Between Sports vs. Arts

by Micheal Kenner

School districts always have to choose sports or arts. Both are important but which one is better. In my opinion I think sports is taking over everything and art needs more recognition. If either of them get cut the students could just do it at home or make a club instead of relying on the school district.

Students in Lisa Schumacher's class run laps.
Students in Lisa Schumacher’s class run laps.

If the school board get rid of art many people will be devastated. Tawny Atencio senior of Sterling high school said, “If they got rid art I would be livid and crushed.” She also said, “I would be nothing without it.” But Tawny isn’t alone many other people said they would move to another school or even protest. Like Chelsea Raffurty sophomore of Sterling High School, said, “I would flip out and try to move to a different district.”

It’s not just the students that are affected by the cuts, Ms.Scott art teacher at sterling high school said, “Kid would drop out and be less fun, and creativity is the main thing that bosses look for.” Scott also said, “I raise money to pay for the supplies so if they cut art they are paying is me.”

There are always people that like both sports and arts, like Adam Hernandez sophomore sa

Students create pottery in Chelsea Scott's ceramics class.
Students create pottery in Chelsea Scott’s ceramics class.

id, “I would be disappointed.” But he did say that he would exercise on his own, he also said, “Art always comes before sports.”

Bailey Rausch, junior of Sterling High, said, “If they took out sports I would protest and go to the board.” But she also said that she would focus more on classes and business if both art and sports were cut off.

Everybody has a good point but it seems that people will fight to keep a program up or even drop out to go to another school that does have the program. On the other hand people would have exercised, played their instrument or drew outside of school or just did nothing. What is my opinion you ask? Well I think that art should stay if they are getting rid of one. If they get rid of a sport the coach will still have a job if they get rid of art Scott will lose her job and any other art teacher. Plus all the students will lose from cutting it.

What Can Older Generations learn from Millennials

by Jessica Guereca

When you think of a millennial, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Would it be a teen on their phone? Or someone who’s lazy? Or something like this?

Abby Cross takes a "selfie"--a Millennial phenomenon.
Abby Cross takes a “selfie”–a Millennial phenomenon.

When we think of millennials, we usually have an image of someone who looks selfish and self absorbed, etc. We think of the stereotypical millennial who only thinks of themselves. The truth is that that kind of millennial doesn’t exist. Millennials are just young bright kids who are just as hardworking as every other generations. There have even been studies that say that millennials are called the smartest generation yet. But of course other studies would argue that point. The point still hands though, millennials aren’t always what they seem. We have some of the highest enrollment for college, and we’ve even passed Baby Boomers for being the largest generation.

We millennials are always being told that we should be learning from older generations, whether it’s how to find a spouse, how to get more sleep, etc. We’re told to following their example, and are basically being told that we should be molding ourselves from the generations before us. But we hardly hear about what older generations can learn from Millennials.

Other than the obvious things like knowing how to logout of a Facebook account, we don’t talk about what millennials teach other generations. “Tolerance and acceptance, I’ve learned from the younger generations. I love the way they are tolerant of others and they are respectful of others. I think that some of the older people can learn from that,” says Lynel Frank, a counselor here at the high school. One thing our generation has always been know for, is being more understanding to things the generations before us weren’t. Whether it’s us being more accepting about race, or genders and sexualities, we’ve always been more open minded. We’re willing to accept people for being people rather than define them by one aspect of their lives.

Lyn Frank teaches her employment skills course.
Lynel Frank teaches her employment skills course.

“I think just student in general taught me that there isn’t just one way of doing something.” says Chris Kelly, our Business and Finance Teacher. Another aspect that millennials have also been recognized for is being able to think outside of the box. While someone from an older generation might only see one way of doing things and get frustrated from the results, we millennials can visualize many different ways to go about figuring out a problem, and finding solutions. While someone may be trying to see how to think outside the box, a millennial may be thinking of how to use the box to our advantage.

We millennials have many tools at our disposal, and while older generations see cell phones and other electronics as distractions, we understand that electronics are only a tool to help us move along. Douglas Adams once said, “Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” People tend to react to new things as strange, and not right. Older generations can learn from millennials that new things don’t have to be scary, they can be fun and help us in our daily lives. Instead of grouping all electronics together as “distractions,” why not try giving it a chance?

“Sometimes they teach me to kick back and relax a little bit instead of, ‘Oh my gosh I gotta get that done’. Sometimes you just gotta sit back and relax is something they’ve taught me,” Coach Schumaker said. Now, while I believe that millennials are hardworking and can achieve amazing things, we also know how to just kick back and enjoy life. We like to relax and not worry about the stresses of life, which is something I think older generations forget to do sometimes. Instead of worrying so much about everything, take a day off! Cool down, spend a day just sitting at home doing nothing if you have too. Everyone should have some way to relax, and older generations can definitely learn that from millennials.

One thing that millennials have always wanted older generations to understand is that change happens. Things aren’t always gonna be exactly how it was ‘back in your day’, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We want older generations to understand that just because we may do things differently than what you did, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. We’re trying to figure things out too, so we just want older people to let us learn things! We understand that as parents and grandparents, you just want to make sure we’re doing the right things, but let us figure it out just like you did. We might get hurt in the process but we just want to teach older generations that we can get through it. “Be understanding. And realize that not everything is gonna be the same as it is for you,” says senior Victor Ferri.

One of the questions I asked when doing my interviews for this piece was, “Do you think millennials should be learning from older generations or older generations from Millennials?” Out of everyone I asked, all of them said the same thing. Learning between our generations can be, and should be, a mutual thing. Older generations have experience and wisdom that comes with age, that we millennials don’t have. But we millennials have different viewpoints and ways to teach and learn and accept that older generations may not have seen or be used to. We should be learning from each other, understanding and accepting that we all do things differently. Millennials aren’t lazy, they’re hardworking and wise and seek knowledge. And older generations can give us some of that knowledge, but they can also learn a thing or two from millennials as well.

Paula Etl teaches students who "taught me to have fun and have hope."
Paula Etl teaches students who “taught me to have fun and have hope.”

The Season of Finals

by Amarise Buanteo

As we all know, as the holidays come, so does the stress and pain of finals. Over the past years, our school hasn’t really done anything around the holidays to incorporate the holiday spirit. Many people love the holidays and what it comes with such as decorating, the songs, the happiness, but most importantly being stress-free. Nobody stresses when holidays are near unless its financial stress. Many kids from different gave ideas to what more could the school do and how this relieves them from the stress of finals.
Freshman Adrain Aguirre, had some great answers when he was interviewed about this stressful yet fun time.
Aguirre answered with, “I do enjoy how the school incorporates the holidays because it helps relieve your stress from all the studying.” Many of the holidays festivities actually do help students relieve their stress from the finals. img_2171
Aguirre answered with, “Yes, because it helps students have a little fun and relieve themselves from studying all the time.”  
Freshman, Hannah Fleckenstein
Fleckenstein answered with, “I think they should do almost like a secret Santa thing like with the advisory class or something.”
Fleckenstein answered with, “Yes. I love Christmas decorations.” Many of the students were very happy with the decorating of their advisory doors.
Sophomore, Jasmine Renteria answered with, “That winter break is right around the corner.” I mean that’s what is getting me through the finals also.
Renteria answered with, “I like it. It’s cute and I love it. I’ll do it every year.” I think everyone would do this every year if the school allowed us to.
Sophomore Adam Hernandez, is part of Student Council but had some things to say about the holidays being incorporated. Hernandez had answered with “Yes I like both ideas. They are making things more festive.”
Hernandez answered with “Yes I like both contests. Maybe think of more ideas in the future.” I think that it would be a lot of fun in the future to have more holiday themed contest.

Adam Hernandez dons a "jolly" suit before final exams.
Adam Hernandez dons a “jolly” suit before final exams.


Kimberlee Johnson takes part in the "Ugly Sweater Day" festivities.
Kimberlee Johnson takes part in the “Ugly Sweater Day” festivities.

Junior Kimberlee Johnson,  is a Christmas enthusiast and is obsessed with anything Christmas.
Johnson answered with “Uh yeah! Because it would be awesome. It takes a lot of street off people. Unless you’re not Christmas crazy like I am.”  She answered with “Yeah it is fun if we did more Christmas things. It would be awesome. Like a pajama day would be so much fun. Or maybe even a Christmas play, not like madrigal dinner, but an actual play.”
That would be interesting maybe we should talk to Mrs.Lambrecht about doing one with the drama class.
Junior Shelby Houser, had many things to say when I had a chance to interview her about the school’s way of incorporating holidays.
Houser answered with “Yeah I think we should do a holiday week. I want an activity, games or crafts everyday. Teachers should pass out candy.”
She answered with “Knowing Christmas is almost here. Because Christmas is fun. Also knowing I get to travel for Christmas this year.”
If I was traveling, I would be just as excited.
As we all know this is very new to have the holidays incorporated in our school. So when I asked some of our seniors about how they feel they had some pretty great answers. Senior, Gabrielle Deleon,  was very detailed about this year’s finals season.
Deleon answered with “To live in the moment I’m not worried until the time comes.”
She answered with “I think we should’ve had more than one contest. We should’ve has a week of Christmas such as spirit week.”img_2169
I’m gonna have to agree with that one I mean how cool work it be too have just one whole week full of Christmas things to do.
The other senior that I had a chance to interview also had a lot to say about the holidays being incorporated into the school this year. Senior, Aby Aguirre, had some great answers and even though this is her last year, she still gave some great ideas for the next years.
Aguirre answered with “Yeah it doesn’t make school seem so boring and dull. It starts to make it feel more like Christmas.”
She answered with “The joy that break is coming soon and that we are halfway done through our senior year.”
For many of the seniors their school year is halfway done so many of them are excited to finally leave. Though some are sad because they leave behind all of their memories that they have made over the past four years, it’s nice that the school was able to do something their last year of high school before they left for good.
Not only are high school students stressed out but so are college students. Finals are something that everyone stresses, over especially since many of them are worth a lot of your grade. It is nice though, knowing that when the last final is done and you put your pencil down and turn in your paper, you know that you have this nice long break after it’s over. Over the past few years the school never really incorporated anything that had to do with the holidays, which is really sad because many people love the holidays and many people find it as a stress reliever. Many of the students that I had interviewed all said the same thing, that incorporating the holidays and having these fun contest actually does take their stress off of finals. It also gives some students a break from studying and being able to enjoy the holiday season. I think that the school should actually do more things with the holiday season. What people don’t realize is that they actually don’t stress as much when they have something holiday- related. It’s  like a small break before our actual Christmas break. I think that many of the students had some great ideas for more contest, in the future. I mean yeah this year’s ideas were great but there is so much that comes with the holidays that we could do. I think that  Student Council or whoever should do this and every year and have a lot more to do so we aren’t so stressed with the finals. I love the holiday season  when I was told all about the contest that we were gonna do this year I couldn’t help but be excited. I love Christmas and everything that comes with it, so maybe we should convince someone in the school that we should do this every year because it helps students be less stressed. It’s like a free stress reliever we need to not always be stressed every year for finals. I think that as a school we should come together and have a vote on what to do every year. It is the school that actually participates in the contest so we should come and do something new every year because it is fun and brings us together as a school.img_2159

Celebrating holidays across the world

by Amela Nevaljalovic

December. The last month of the year. Something that some of us have been waiting since the begining of the year and some of us don’t want the year to end just yet. Doesn’t matter if you belong to the first or second group of people, the fact is that the end of the year is approaching and the holiday atmosphere is in the air. People and kids have become anxious about this time period and everybody is in the rush to finish their work and decoration. Everything is in the spirit of Christmas and New Year.  We can all evidently see the lights and decorations all over the streets and they all look astonishing. Everything is in Christmas and New Year’s spirit and nobody could imagine spending the month of December otherwise. Well, at least not in America. December in USA is known as the month of Jesus and that is how is celebrated. It is a month of love and sharing. We all kind of try to act as good as we can and to spend as much as time with our closest one as possible. It truly is a beautiful time of the year. Lot of countries and families have their ways of spending holidays and they all differ from one another.

A lot of countries in the world do not celebrate Christmas on December 25th but on January 7th which is the case with Eastern Europe. Or for instance China and Saudi Arabia have different dates for celebrating New Year’s Eve. All of this is something most of us do not pay attention to or most likely a lot of us don’t know these customs across the world. The important thing is to create a cultural understanding for all of the groups of people who have their own way of celebrating holidays. All of these traditions are special and beautiful in diverse way and we should all cherish it.

Luckily for us here at Sterling High, this year we have a lot of kids from all parts of the world who were more than happy to share with us their traditions throughout the beautiful winter days. Ons Laroussi is an exchange student from Tunisia, Northern Africa told us that people from Tunisia do not celebrate Christmas either, but they do celebrate the birth of their Prophet, Mohammed which is called mouled, which happened to be this year in the month of December. This is similar to Christmas because both of the holidays are related to birth. Laroussi told us that she might spend the holidays up at the mountains skiing which will be her first time since there is no snow in Tunisia. ‘Christmas traditions are fun. I did not expect them to be like this, I have only seen some things in the movies but I didn’t imagine it being like this,’ said Laroussi. ‘Christmas songs are beautiful and I enjoyed listening to them’, said Laroussi. The thing she enjoyed doing the most was decorating the tree and making special cookies. And of course seeing Santa Claus and making special wish. Laroussi told us that she is thankful for all of this being part of her exchange year and that she is looking forward to the next year, which will hopefully be even more successful.

Another exchange student, Saengchat Theraakitspal, from Thailand, Southeast Asia, told us that people from there do not celebrate Christmas. Only Christian schools. Even though people don’t celebrate Christmas they are in a big hurry during the month of December and that is because of New Year. Theraakitspal said that people are often travelling and are away during New Year’s Eve. These trips usually last about five days or so and are usually inside of country because it is cheaper and because of the economic reason. But some people travel abroad, as well. Mona Suppasara, another exchange student from Thailand is looking forward to celebrating Christmas. ‘We don’t celebrate Christmas in Thailand and this will be a very exciting experience for me and my host family’, said Suppasara. New year is celebrated on the same date and it is usually spent with the family. Suppasara also had a chance to see Santa and talk to him which was new to her. Her and Theraakitspal have been very happy about the opportunity and experiencing the traditions of these holidays and hey are happy that they got a chance to get familiar with all these traditions here in the United States of America.

Laroussi, Suppasara and Theraakitspal are very excited about celebrating Christmas for the first time and they are happy that they got a chance to celebrate it here in the USA. Michelle Lihsin, student from China shared with us that people in China do not celebrate Christmas at all and that New Year’s Eve is never on the same date. Basically, each year it is a different date and time. They have many different activities and this is considered the most important day of the year. ‘Kids usually get money from the elderly and they are looking forward to this’, said Lihsin. Lihsin is very excited for Christmas in the America and happy that she can do many things she could not have done in China and she is very happy about the Christmas break which lasts longer than her winter break.

 Also, they are all excited about the presents since this is the time of giving and sharing. Exchange students also liked the Ugly sweater Day at school. That was really something new for all of us and we enjoyed it very much. All of the exchange students have wished us Merry Christmas and good wishes.

As a student from Europe I can say that people overseas celebrate Christmas in many ways and it is a very special holiday for Europeans. For a lot of countries such as Italy or Spain this is a big holiday. People really try to make it best as possible. In my country mostly Catholics celebrate Christmas at this time of the year. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas traditionally on January 7th. This is also the case with countries such as Serbia, France and Russia. New years eve is also celebrate on December 31st and most of the people spend it with their love ones. A big amount of people go to countries like Austria or Greece for holidays just as trip. Everybody has different customs and everybody celebrate it differently.

Mona (right) showing Ons (left) a flag from Thailand.
Mona (right) showing Ons (left) a flag from Thailand.

My family’s New Years/Christmas tradition is decorating the inside of the house and putting up baloons and of course Christmas tree. My tree is not as near as big as the ones here because it is a plastic one but it is nice and has lights on it. Here, my host family and I had bought a real tree wich is 7 feet high and looks beautiful!

Some people like to make a list of things they have accomplished that year and if not they put is a bucket list for the next one. I often do that and it really motivates a person to try and experience new things.

Altough we celebrate Christmas and New Years, Europeans do not go to the extreme as American citizens do. We do not go from door to door singing Christmas carols or decorate schools. But that’s not the case with America. The looks of the houses and streets and even stores are tremendous. Everything is in holiday spirit and the views are amazing. The amount of time and effort people put in decorating their places is really something we can admire. For me personally, seeing houses decorated the day after Halloween was the most interesting things. People just threw their Halloween decorations and put Christmas ones. And after that it just became more and more obvious that Christmas is approaching. I am also thankful that I got the opportunity to experience this whole American way of celebrating this for a lot of people, favourite holiday. It’s great sharing culture from Africa, Asia and Europe and showing Americans how do people from another side of the world celebrate December.

In the end we can say that December is a time of love, sharing and giving. It is special month in all continents and even though people mark it and celebrate it differently it is still a month that is mostly spend with family and close friend. It is not about expensive gifts but about little things that connect us and that just mean that we mean to someone or that somebody means to us. All of the exchange students are thankful for the opportunity and glad that they got the chance of experiencing this whole Holiday euphoria! Us from Colorado hope that we will at least get a chance to have a Christmas and New Year with snow and that we will be making Christmas angels in the snow. From our Sterling High School exchange staff, we wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Ons and Mona standing in front of their advisory Christmas decorated door
Ons and Mona standing in front of their advisory Christmas decorated door