Family’s traditions make Christmas all the more memorable

Alayna Flor

Pickle ornaments, bus rentals and gift-giving games aren’t unusual to some ISU students’ holiday traditions.

Emily Dayton, senior in apparel merchandising design and production, celebrates Christmas with her dad’s side of the family, which includes more than 70 people. Each year they go caroling to various houses nearby and eat chili and cookies.

Before they dig into the food, they rent a bus for everyone, and arrive on the doorsteps of family friends.

“I have been a part of my family tradition every year of my life. It would be weird to not be apart of it,” Dayton said. “This tradition started when my dad was born, so it’s been happening for over 50 years. Its a fun surprise to have 70 people show up at your house and sing to you.”

While some families celebrate through singing, others do through decorating with ornaments. Either hand-crafted or bought from the store, each ornament usually has a special story to tell. One ornament that seems to be popular among family traditions is the us of a pickle ornament.

Parents hide the pickle and offer a money reward for the child who finds it, but other parents use it to keep peace among the kids.

“My parents hide the pickle ornament and whoever finds it first gets to open the large family gift that Santa brings,” said Brittany Niedermeyer, sophomore in marketing. “It gets quite competitive between me and my brother.”

With the tree decorated and gifts wrapped, some parents come up with clever ways to make the gift giving mean a little bit more.

“For the past 10 years, we have opened our presents on Christmas Eve,” said Jayme Dyer, freshman in agricultural studies. “My mom made up a game by having us figure out the pattern in how our presents are wrapped. My sisters and I always stared at the presents, trying to figure out what the game was before we opened them so we could out smart mom.”

The Dyer family’s gift-wrapping game not only allows its members to spend more time together, but also puts their minds to use.

“My favorite was the year she wrapped the bows a certain way for each kid. In the middle, on the top left corner or on the top right corner,” Dyer said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better on Christmas Eve. It also allows us to slow down and remember what Christmas is all about.”