Tributes to traditions


Christmas time is considered a time for people to engage in activities that they do during this season no matter their religion or the holiday they celebrate such as baking cookies, sending cards out to loved ones, decorating their home and having dinner surrounded by loved ones on a certain night. Within all of these, all of the activities that they participate in mostly stem from the memories of the past. During the season everyone has different traditions and most stem from other cultures and traditions around the world. 

Some traditions in America we have not adopted such as La Befana which is Italy’s Santa comes to the children on January 6th and not December 25th. Traditions can vary based on where people live in the world, such as Krampus is a form of folklore created in eastern and central alpine based on evil, half goat and half demon monster that comes and punishes the naughty children on Christmas instead of rewarding the good. That is around the world in multiple different countries, along with hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree which originated in Germany but has now gone to many other places including America. The tradition has lots of different versions or interpretations but the one most people follow is from an old civil war story, about a soldier in prison who begs a guard to give him a pickle to eat because he was starving. The guard ended up giving him one, and it sustained him until he was released, saving him from death. He then came home and bought a pickle ornament for his Christmas tree. Nowadays, families or Santa hide it for kids to race to find it first in the morning and whoever finds it first, is supposed to receive good luck for the rest of the year.

Stockbridge has lots of traditions, such as the Festival of Lights event that took place recently on the 26th of November, that hold a place in lots of people’s hearts to start their Christmas season off well. The students of Stockbridge also have traditions that they participate in within their own homes. Secret Santa is a beloved tradition that originated in America, and junior Dominic Hoeppner talks about his tradition on Christmas Eve with his siblings.

“I don’t expect my parents to get me and my siblings gifts for Christmas half the time, so we do it so that we know we will always have a nice gift from our siblings,” Hoppener said. “It’s just something that’s always constant for Christmas time.” 

Not only do our students participate in Secret Santa but it’s been a long-time staff tradition that has been brought back this year. Stockbridges athletics department assistant Karen Bradford has run this tradition for 10 years since she has been handed the torch. The high school administration had never expressed interest in starting the tradition over, until she brought it up this year, seeing as how it originally started in the old middle school. 

“People need to be happy again, and enjoy Christmas time again. We have so many new staff members just in this building alone, and this brings us together and has us learn new things about each other. It takes us out of our own little circle and brings us into one big circle in a fun way,” Bradford said.

In others’ homes, people have different traditions that base around people’s religions, memories and past stories that maybe aren’t heard of as often as others like leaving cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve. 

“My favorite tradition is family Christmas pajamas,” senior Josie Beutler said. I was included last year in my boyfriend’s family celebration of them, and that was cool to see. It made me feel like a member of their family being involved in something that’s normally just for them,” Beutler said. She talks about the traditions that come from her Catholic heritage. Her traditions have come from many years ago, and for different reasons. Some of her traditions like Christmas dinner, and Saint Nicholas day are from her religion, one is called Epiphany. Which is a very large feast, which is to “celebrate the revelation of God’s incarnate as Jesus Christ.”

“My mom’s theology has always been if Jesus had to wait for your gifts,” Beutler said. “Then you have to wait for them. One year we made these cookies that were shaped like the Befana which is considered the good witch who brings gifts to the children,” Beutler said. Beutler talked about how the traditions she’s been a part of will forever hold a special place in her heart and will be passed down to her family which she hopes to have in the future. “I think I would have to keep all of them. I plan on doing St. Nicholas day, and I plan on even doing it myself this year. I feel it’s important to keep my traditions alive.”