Diving into the holiday season

Dec. 28, 2018, 8:24 p.m. | By Shifra Dayak | 4 years, 5 months ago

Blazer traditions and favorites during the winter months

As winter break nears, thoughts of school are flying out of Blazers' minds. Instead of thinking about English essays and math tests, they're hoping for snow, dreaming about sipping hot chocolate and looking forward to time spent with family and friends. Blair's diverse community is mirrored in its students' special winter and holiday traditions.

Blair's diverse community is mirrored in its students' special winter and holiday traditions. Photo courtesy of Young-Bin Lee.

Living in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area has its advantages during the winter months — there's always plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions that Blazers enjoy. From a renowned African dance performance honoring Kwanzaa to the National Christmas tree lighting, Blair students can find plenty of holiday cheer around the area.

One such attraction is ZooLights, where the National Zoo turns into a winter wonderland filled with light shows, musical performances and holiday shopping. For senior Sidney Gray and her family, going to ZooLights is one of the traditional highlights of the holiday season. "We started going to ZooLights when I was in seventh grade," Gray says. "My mom [takes] my sister and I, and we spend a couple hours just walking around, eating popcorn and looking at the lights." Gray especially enjoys the monkey exhibit's dazzling light display and getting ice cream after leaving the zoo.

For other Blazers, winter break is all about simple yet fun things. After a hard few months at school, students enjoy thinking about anything but schoolwork for a week. Freshman Tobias West echoes these sentiments. "My favorite thing about winter break is not going to school," he laughs. West, like several of his fellow students, also loves making and eating classic wintertime treats. "I like pretty much everything — brownies, eggnog, hot chocolate," he says.

West also enjoys watching classic Christmas movies. "I like Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2. Those are my favorites," he says. Blazers' movie tastes are wide-ranging, with some enjoying classics like It's a Wonderful Life and others going for newer favorites and Netflix-produced holiday rom-coms. But regardless of students' taste in movies, there's a general consensus that the winter months are perfect for curling up with a blanket and a hot drink and getting lost in a cinematic universe.

Blair students enjoy participating in holiday activities around the D.C area. Photo courtesy of Young-Bin Lee.

Movies are too slow-paced for some students who love high-energy fun, but winter provides many opportunities for them too. For individuals like junior Rita Bartz and her family who don't mind facing cold temperatures, there are a plethora of wintry outdoor activities to participate in the area, from skiing and snowboarding to cold-weather hiking and camping. "We drive up to our lake house in Western Maryland, which is right near Deep Creek Lake, and my family goes to ski at the Wisp," she says. Having a ski trip to look forward to each year makes the season special for Bartz. "I love being together with my family and all doing the same thing every year. I think that traditions are great to carry on," she says.

Other Blazers carry on traditions by honoring cultures from around the world in their holiday celebrations. Sophomore Katrina Warren's mom is from Spain, so in addition to celebrating the traditional American Christmas in December, she and her family celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings, or Reyes Magos, who are said to bring Spanish children gifts on the night of January 5. "You leave your favorite pair of shoes out by the door, and overnight 'The Three Kings' come and you get a bunch of presents in and around your shoes. And then in the morning, you unwrap them," she explains. For Warren, honoring this tradition is a great way to connect with her family and to have twice the holiday fun.

After the holidays are over, most students dejectedly trek back to school on January 2, lamenting that winter break is over. But other Blazers are more cheerful, knowing they have celebrations to look forward to in the upcoming weeks, such as sophomore Alexandra Browning, whose family celebrates Chinese New Year. In 2019, Chinese New Year will fall on Feb. 5 and Browning's family will celebrate the same way they always have — with a party featuring red money envelopes. "How we've always done it with my family is that we'll have the red envelopes and there'll be different amounts of money in them, and we'll [hand them out]... so nobody knows how much money is in theirs," she explains. "And of course we have traditional clothing that varies from year to year."

Regardless of what their holiday and winter traditions entail, Blazers regard the winter months as a chance to spend quality time with the people they love, carry on family customs and revisit old favorites, whether through food or movies. As Blair students look forward to winter break, they eagerly anticipate carrying on their favorite traditions.

Last updated: Dec. 28, 2018, 8:25 p.m.

Tags: winter break Christmas New Years Kwanzaa Blazer traditions

Shifra Dayak. Hi, I'm Shifra! If I'm not writing articles or doing homework, I'm probably making music, browsing through dog pictures, eating Thai food, or napping. More »

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