Edited by: Pina Capuano
A tradition is a strange concept. Until you really think about it, your family’s traditions might seem completely normal, and they are, to you and your family. However, it’s when you stop and consider how other families spend their holidays that you begin to see what makes traditions so special; they are unique.
To learn more about different holiday traditions, we asked students from the University of Ottawa about their Christmas traditions.
What is your most interesting, funny, or quirky Christmas tradition?
“Since we were little, both my sister and I have gotten a haircut on Christmas Eve.” – Madison Dobson* (Second year, PR)
“Right before we go to bed, my family of five all sit down and take turns each reading a page from the ‘Night Before Christmas’.” – Courtney Saunders* (Second year, Communications)
“My family sings and dances to Venezuelan music.” – Patricia Michelena* (Second year, PR)
“We always take a family shot of Drambuie together after dinner.” – Shannon Murphy* (Second year, PR)
“We open presents all night! If we go to bed it’s for an hour or two.” – Gabrielle Fecteau (Second year, Criminology)
What do you eat for Christmas dinner?
“Raclette! It’s a diner where there’s a grill on the table and on the counter there’s a variety of meats, veggies, bread, and potatoes and you cook your own meal. – Anabelle Gange (Second year, French Literature/ Lettre Française)
“My family is vegetarian, so my mom and I always work hard to make a non-traditional vegetarian meal. Every year it varies depending on the recipes we find, but it usually includes a lentil loaf, sweet potatoes, kale salad and a vegan pumpkin pie.” – Courtney Saunders* (Second year, Communications)
“Food, food, food! Oxtail, curry chicken and goat, white rice, rice and peas, ham, turkey, macaroni pie, BBQ chicken, ribs – and there’s more I just can’t remember the rest.” – Deille LaRocque
“All the usual holiday foods…but sometimes we just make homemade pizza.” – Sierra Duffy (First year, PR)
What is your favourite part of Christmas?
“The complete stillness of my hometown on Christmas day” – Madison Dobson* (Second year, PR)
“My mom used to, and still does, write ‘letters from the elves’, even though my sister and I are way too old for them they are still fun to read.” – Sierra Duffy (First year, PR)
“My parents both have big families, so my favourite part is seeing how close the count gets to 50 for Christmas dinner. One year my grandma invited all the neighbors and it was close to 65.” – Jocelyn Courneya* (Second year, PR)
“I guess growing up my favorite part about Christmas was the whole eating thing. But I think recently, with me starting to work and stuff and starting to contribute, my favorite part about Christmas now is actually getting gifts for my family because I like seeing their faces when they open it.” – Julia Carrillo
“My absolute favourite part of Christmas are the lights. It doesn’t even matter where they are, I love how they sparkle in the darkness. There’s always been something truly magical about them for me. Also, being away at university has taught me how truly amazing family is, so spending time with them is definitely something that I enjoy about Christmas because it brings us all together.” – Courtney Saunders* (Second year, Communications)
The holidays are a time when family and friends gather to celebrate together. It’s these moments when we all come together that traditions are formed and passed down through the generations. It could be the simplest things, like homemade pizza or inviting your neighbors to dinner, but it’s these special and unique traditions that make the holiday season so exciting.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their stories.