Keeping the Tradition Alive

Keeping the Tradition Alive

Each year many students return home to spend the holiday break with family and friends. Traditions are something that go hand-in-hand with the holiday season. Not everyone has traditions, however. Some have a tradition of just trying out new things every holiday season, and some have traditions their families have done to celebrate the holidays for years.

Hannah Hampton, a freshman in journalism, said her family celebrates the holidays with a little debating.

“We cook a lot of food and then nap,” Hampton said. “And then eat again, and get in heated arguments about politics.”

Many students have traditions outside of a typical Americanized Christmas or other holiday traditions. Hampton is one of those students.

“My grandma always plays Serbian Christmas music really loud throughout the house and sings to all of us. We celebrate Serbian Christmas on January 7th,” Hampton said.

Serbian Christmas is a little different than the traditional American Christmas, but still very similar, Hampton said.

“It’s basically the same as a Christian Christmas,” Hampton said. “We usually look at a lot of scrap books. We don’t get gifts on Serbian Christmas, it’s more about family.”

Some families like to keep it simple around the holidays, and not stick to traditions. Jake Arrowsmith is a freshman majoring in Animal Ecology and his family takes that simple approach when celebrating the holidays together.

“Usually my family stays in Iowa and we just get together and eat a lot while playing cards,” Arrowsmith said.

Some students choose to celebrate with friends during the holiday season. Some, like Arrowsmith, go as far as creating their own holiday traditions that they only celebrate with friends.

“We have this tradition after finals where we would all eat Panda Express after we finished up with finals,” Arrowsmith said. “We started doing this in high school.”

Traditions can be small and arise from something as simple as a group of friends deciding to go out to eat after finals are over.

The traditions that Hannah Preston, freshman majoring in sociology and education, celebrates with her family during the holidays started when her father moved to Iowa.

“The weekend after Thanksgiving we always go to the Stratman Tree Farm and cut down our tree together,” Preston said. “Then on Christmas Eve my dad makes oyster stew, and we watch movies all night.”

When celebrating the holidays, students might not want to celebrate with their entire family or group of friends. Preston has a tradition she celebrates with just her sister around the holiday season.

“I always go ice skating, and have endless Hallmark holiday movie marathons with my sister during winter break,” Preston said.

There are numerous ways to celebrate the holidays with family members during the holiday season, and sometimes when a family or group tries something new for the holidays, it can turn into a yearly tradition. Maybe trying new activities every year with family during the holidays could be considered a tradition.

Sidebar – 5 activities to try out with your family or friends during the holidays


  1. Ice skating

  2. Christmas caroling

  3. Secret Santa, or regular small gift exchange with friends on campus

  4. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter

  5. Donate non-perishable foods or clothing to a donation center in your area