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Journal writing project: Shimmering lights

By Kaia Hongerholt

Fri, Dec 6th, 2013
Posted in All Journal Student Writing Project

Hundreds of green, red, and white streams of light twinkle off in separate directions, fresh pine aroma surrounds the room, the exploding taste of peppermint lines the inside of your mouth, Michael Bublé whispers “Deck the Halls” in the background, and goose bumps cover your arms as the sub-zero temperatures sneak up on you. Christmas is a time of year that is unique to each individual. Traditions, family, and friends are what set everyone’s Christmas’ apart from another.

Depending on what one’s background is, there are several ways to celebrate the Christmas season. Traditions are a way to remember past holidays and make memories for years to come. Traditions can include cooking three days in a row to prepare for a holiday feast, playing games with loved ones, opening presents, indulging in holiday goodies and delicacies that you only get to treat yourself to once a year, or even eating out at the same restaurant.

Traditions remind us of past friends and family that could not be around for another year; traditions also remind us of the past and excite us for the future. For example, each year my family has three extended family Christmas gatherings that we attend, each with their own significance.

The Christmas Eve gathering includes extended family members on the maternal side of the family where we participate in a grab bag gift exchange, play lots of card games, and eat tons of food. Another tradition occurs on Christmas Day when the paternal side of the family sits around a large table built especially for Christmas by grandpa. We congregate in the shed to have a delicious lunch with refreshments from an old-fashion claw foot bathtub, play bingo, and open presents. The third party is usually the weekend after Christmas, with my immediate family and maternal grandparents. This is when we eat another great meal, play more cards, visit the neighbors which happen to also be distant family members, and open gifts.

Family; they may get on your nerves but around the holidays no one can be angry with one another. There will always be a cousin or uncle that drives you crazy, however Christmas has a way of bringing everyone together. This holiday alone brings families and friends from across the nation, even across the world, together. No other time of the year has this much of an impact on bringing people together the way this holiday season does through present giving and receiving, amazing food, bright decorations, and bonding time with your loved ones.

Not only does the holiday season bring families together, but communities also are able to build support and help those that are in need. Church’s offer sharing trees to donate items to people in need, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter in Lanesboro supports a few families from the area, Lanesboro’s chapter of Future Career Community Leaders of America gathers money from its members to donate to cancer research, and local groups make care packages supporting our troops stationed throughout the United States and abroad. Christmas is a time for giving, not just presents, but also love and compassion for one another.

Traditions, family, and friends play a major role in your own holiday activities. Whether you’re going to another state or country, a church service, a mile down the road, or even staying in your own home, make your own memories that will last a lifetime.

Kaia Hongerholt is a student at Lanesboro High School. She is one of 8 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its fifteenth year.

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