Holt Holiday Traditions

Adian Kline, Writer

Every Holiday season, people all have their own special traditions and events. Some are cooking up a storm of treats, some are wrapping up their gifts and others are playing family games. For myself, I have always had the same Christmas traditions. We always wake up around 7:30 on the dot just so our parents could sleep in a bit and proceed to rip and tear through boxes and boxes of gifts while our parents took loads of pictures. Then we would proceed to clean up the wrapping paper and call all our grandparents and tear through some more. After all that excitement, we waited and hung around the house with our new toys until around lunch we would go to a mid-tier Chinese buffet restaurant, often getting a bunch of sweet and sour chicken, and then go straight to a movie theater to watch whatever holiday or non-holiday movie that was showing. This is the same tradition we would do for almost 5 years until we moved. Many people in Holt have all kinds of traditions that they celebrate every year as well.

People like David Terry(‘24), who does Mr.Left and Ms.Right, a gift-giving game where everyone gets in a circle and someone in the circle shouts left or right passing the gifts around until it is shuffled around enough and everyone has their gift. One of David’s favorite memories he said was when his“… grandpa wanted to win the lotto tickets that were in the mix so he purposely held onto them and passed the gift he was given.” 

But that is not the only game that people play to give out gifts. Some of the more popular ones include White Elephant, Secret Santa Yankee Swap; all of which are centered around the idea of random gift-giving. That is not the only way people receive gifts during the holiday season though, for some they still possibly have little brothers or sisters that still receive their gift from the big jolly man, Santa. For Danielle Ottos (‘24) it has been a while since Santa has given a gift to her but she still remembers the memories surrounding it. “When I was younger our family would get one present from Santa that would be hidden in our house somewhere and we would have to find it,” said Danielle,” This would be so fun because we wouldn’t know where the present is and it was just a really fun activity to do that include our whole family.”

Hiding presents does not seem to be the only thing that people are secretly placing around their house. Some people thought to participate in lesser-known traditions like Travis Wimberley (‘22) who does a tradition called Finde die Gurke, which in German roughly translates to ‘find the cucumber’. Often this tradition is where one person hides an ornament of a pickle somewhere on the tree to be found by everyone else to get a special gift or prize. Sometimes it will be extremely hidden for just one day or it will be hidden in some new place every day leading up to Christmas with the person finding it hiding it the next day. Just from ornaments, there are many special traditions like having ornaments that have been handed down for years or decorating the tree with family, or in the case of what Ashlee Nichol said (‘24),” …getting every significant other an ornament for Christmas and hanging them on the tree.”

      Overall traditions are all over the place when it comes to the holidays, spanning over the years and around the world. It is what connects all of us into a wide knitted community. It gives a sense of loving and togetherness during these seasons, which we can all use after quite a long year, and probably the best part of it all is seeing some and experiencing some of these traditions. So no matter what holiday traditions people celebrate, whether it be eating Chinese food or hiding a cucumber, everyone has their way of spreading the holiday cheer for the season; year after year, decade after decade, and maybe even further beyond.