Holiday Traditions: Students tell what they like the most about the season



Louis Bentley, left, and his son, Luca Bently, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Snacks with Santa event in the Truax Campus Gateway on Dec. 2. Louis Bentley is a 2008 graudation of the college’s EMT program.

Jessica Deegan, News editor

Common holiday traditions typically include going to the grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving, decorating holiday cookies, and putting up the Christmas tree with family. While some Madison College students stay true to these common trends, others stray away from tradition.

For student Angie Thao, Thanksgiving is her preferred holiday over Christmas. When she was little, she didn’t find an interest or belief in Santa, so Christmas has never really stood out to her or her family. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, “Is all about being thankful and I think the environment is just very warm,” said Thao.

Instead of Thanksgiving and Christmas, student Diellza Hajredini celebrates Bayram, a main holiday for the Islamic culture. This holiday is typically held in June and gathers all family members to visit and eat desserts.

Although Hajredini doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, her and her family don’t mind being around it for the couple months that Americans do.

“It is fun seeing everything,” said Hajredini.

Student, Hailey Matteson, on the other hand, loves Thanksgiving and Christmas and holds many traditions with her family. For Christmas, in particular, her family plays the white elephant game and every year, someone ends up with a toy severed head.

“Nobody knows who’s going to get the head, we just know that it is there,” said Matteson.

Matteson recalls this tradition for as long as she can remember. Two years ago, she was lucky enough to have opened the head for herself. She explained that if you make the slightest noise while holding the head, the head will begin talking back to you.

“It’s the annoying toy that no one wants,” said Matteson.

While that tradition is amusing and a bit strange, she does comment on some of the more traditional holiday activities they do. Decorating Christmas cookies was one tradition that immediately popped into Matteson’s mind, as it is one of her favorites. She reflects on her family all gathered around the kitchen counter frosting cookies and with three other siblings, there would always be some yelling. Regardless, Matteson holds that tradition close to her heart and looks forward to it every year.

Santa, however, was probably the most thrilling holiday tradition in the Matteson household. She used to fake sleep on the couch in hopes of catching Santa. One thing that Matteson couldn’t understand was “how a fat man could fit down my family’s chimney.” After a couple years of watching and waiting, Matteson caught her parents in the act when they immediately said, “don’t tell your siblings!”

Madison College has two holiday traditions of its own, Santa’s Wish List and Snacks with Santa.

The Volunteer Center sponsors Santa’s Wish List, in which college and community members help provide holiday gifts for the children of students who are unable to otherwise purchase them.

The Programs and Activities Council holds Snacks with Santa on the first Saturday of December, allowing youngsters to get their photo taken with Santa. This year, 204 students, community members and their children attended. Former Madison College staff member Dave Hendrix helped out as Santa as he has for many years.