WBHS’ Holiday Traditions!


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Traditional last ornament on the Christmas tree and hidden among the branches. The first to find it on Christmas Day receives an extra gift!

Ariana Chernis, Reporter

Traditions around the holidays are an important part of the holiday season. It might be what people look forward to all year long. These traditions can be unique or common, but they all hold a place in our hearts. They have a long history, holiday celebrations being as old as recorded history; and there’s a reason for that.  

Holiday traditions create an opportunity for us to bond and make strong memories. Holiday traditions are also important because they allow for the opportunity to share and pass down these traditions. Some traditions have been passed down for generations and some are brand new and can be shared to people all around you. Whichever way holiday traditions work for you, we can all agree that they have become an integral part of the holidays.

A holiday tradition my family has is having a big Hanukkah dinner and decorating a tree together. We’re Jewish so we don’t technically do Christmas trees. We buy a white bush and usually decorate it with blue ornaments. Everyone brings presents and exchanges them. Then for dinner, we put latkes with sour cream and lox or caviar on every plate. We always have a big table with everyone and we’ve made some great memories at the table. I know I look forward to it every year.


The Bullseye asked West Boca students and staff about some of their traditions as well.


Mrs. Lynne, from the medical academy, said, “We celebrate Hanukkah. We make potato latkes, the smell is nostalgic and the whole house smells like burning oil for a few days. This is the point of using oil over the holiday, to remember the oil that lasts for 8 nights when it was only supposed to last a night. We also light a menorah and say Hanukkah prayers. Family gets together and eats and sings songs and enjoys the “Festival of Lights” . We also play the dreidel game with gelt (chocolate coins). These traditions stem from our Jewish ancestry.

It makes me feel at home and reminds me that culture and traditions are important to remember the past and celebrate the present!”


Mr. Seidman, from the history department, said, “I really do not have any special holiday traditions other than: “Eat, drink and be merry…because you never know what tomorrow brings.”


Mrs. Jacques, one of West Boca’s psychology teachers, said, “My family celebrates Christmas. We attend church services, put up and decorate our Christmas tree and lights the 2nd week after Thanksgiving. We do exchange a few small gifts on Christmas day, however, all holidays are about the food in our family. On Christmas Eve, it’s all you can eat Alaskan snow crab legs, and on Christmas Day, it’s prime rib with all the fixings.”


As for some students’ traditions… 

Tayrn Leal said, “After we open presents on Christmas, my mom hides a pickle in the Christmas tree while my sister and I aren’t looking.  After my mom finishes hiding the pickle, my sister and I look for the pickle and whoever finds it first gets an extra present! 

The tradition makes me feel excited because my sister and I get to bond which doesn’t happen all too often.  Being with my family on Christmas makes me very happy in general. My mom has done this tradition since she was a kid with her mom and her younger brother.”


Anna Diaz said, “I do Secret Santa with my family members every year. They started when I was eight because I was old enough to get gifts. They make me feel very excited about the Christmas season.”


Coralea Russon told us, “On New Year’s Day it’s also Haitian Independence Day. My family eats soup joumou which represents freedom from the French. It represents freedom from the French. I feel empowered during these traditions.”


Nailah Figuereo has said, “I usually have my friends come over the day before Christmas Eve. We go shopping and go to Mizner. Then we go to someone’s house and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Grinch and we’ll have a sleepover.”


A student, Giselle M., said, “In my family we pray for our future and our ancestors for an hour. We also play games like loteria and other things and have a scavenger hunt .We also make tamales as a family. Most of these traditions have been around since my great great great grandparents .They started this because they were really religious and family oriented people so they believe that spending time with family would be a great thing to do for the holidays. They make me feel excited about having a connection with my family whether they are still with us or not.” 


Danese said, “My family always bakes cookies together, dividing up the work and making chocolate chip, Russian tea, peanut butter, etc. Before Christmas we play Christmas music and decorate the tree together alternating who puts the star or angel on top. On Christmas Eve we have a family get together at my grandmother’s house with dinner and gift exchanges for those of us that won’t see each other on Christmas. And on Christmas my grandparents come over for breakfast and we open gifts around the tree, before preparing for dinner in which the family comes over once again. They were in place for as long as I can remember. The Christmas Eve dinner probably came about from the fact that not everyone was available on Christmas and we wanted a day to see and celebrate with them, which culminated in having a party on Christmas Eve as well. Cookies were just a fun family activity that we were able to do together and my family loves to bake as well. Decorating the tree is obvious, but the alternating star and angel came after I was born and my parents wanted my brother and I to have a fair way of decorating.”


Sabrina Philipson told the Bullseye that, “Eating ayakas for Christmas is a very big tradition in my house because it’s a food only eaten during the holiday. When the Indians were enslaved by the Spaniards they’d collect the leftover food from their holiday feast and stuff it in a plantain leaf and it that as their feast. It makes me feel good because I know it means family and good times.”


When Leonardo Damico talked about his family traditions he said, “We play bingo on Thanksgiving. We just wanted to play bingo during one Thanksgiving and then we just did it every year. I usually feel sad because I get so close to bingo just for someone else to call it.”


An interesting tradition Julian Quiroz told us about; “A slightly abnormal tradition that my family has is hanging a bronze key on the front door of the house. This would legally make it so Olde Saint Nick wouldn’t be breaking and entering through a chimney. This apparently started around 2008, when the key was purchased from Hobby Lobby because that is the most magical place there is. It makes me feel great because it means Christmas is well in a day or two, so gifts, family, and food will be at the house and Mariah Carey can pick another song after a month.”


Everyone had such interesting and fun traditions. Another fun thing about traditions is that you can start a new one at any time. There are so many different ideas of traditions that could bring you closer to the people you care about, perhaps even one from this article. Anything can be a tradition because you have the power to make it meaningful. Happy holidays, from the West Boca Bullseye!