Unique Holiday Traditions at Freehold Boro


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As the holiday season approaches, I thought it would be interesting to see what unique traditions the students at Freehold High School hold near and dear to their hearts. Given that the student body is very diverse, I was really excited to hear the responses and learn more about other cultures and the reasoning behind certain traditions. I asked five students to describe their favorite part of whichever holiday they may celebrate, and why it is so significant to them. 

PS: “My family and I celebrate Christmas, but we definitely have some unique approaches to classic traditions. For many people, the holiday revolves around the tree. Whether it is how many gifts are under it or how many ornaments can be strategically placed along the branches, the Christmas tree is often something that defines the holiday. In my house, we try to honor the idea of family in everything we do, including ornaments with pictures of ourselves! On Christmas day we all wear matching pajamas. Not only is it something super cute and comfortable, but it reminds us that we are all one family unit, and we are always going to be a team. Something a little bit different that we do is that we don’t actually give/get gifts – we wrap empty boxes and put them under the tree. In my house, giving gifts is one of the many ways we show our appreciation and gratitude for each other, and because we give each other gifts year-round we do not feel that we need to dedicate a whole day to gift-giving.”

MK: “My family and I don’t really do anything special or unique for the holidays, but for New Year’s Eve we have one tradition that really means a lot to me. Every year, my mom makes chocolate cake from a recipe that has been passed down through multiple generations. Because we only have it once a year, the love and labor that go into making the cake make the holiday so much more meaningful. While it may seem like a typical chocolate cake to most, it represents patience and sweetness going into the new year, which is something that really motivates my family to keep working to benefit ourselves.” 

BM: “I think it’s cool to be able to experience so many different things. By embracing the fact that my mom’s side of the family celebrates Hanukkah and my dad’s side celebrates Christmas, I get to see the different ways both of my parents were raised. On Christmas Eve, my family and I make food that honors both sides of the family like Italian Seven Layer Cookies and Latkes. On Christmas Day, I get to open presents and light a menorah on the same day.”

DP: “Growing up Jewish, I never really felt that Hanukkah was as widely advertised as Christmas. Even though I was always surrounded by Jewish friends, our traditions always felt overpowered by the ‘traditional’ Christmas celebrations. I used to hope that I would be able to walk into any store during the holiday season and see Hanukkah displays lining the aisles. While I learned to embrace my religion and love for the holiday by celebrating with friends and family, lighting the menorah, and playing with dreidels, I still have a soft spot for Christmas. Although I may not believe in what it celebrates, I love the spirit and positivity it adds to the cold and often glum winter season.”

DN: “The only thing that my family does that other families might not do is open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. Even though it is a really small thing, it’s how we honor our Latin American heritage. My Abuelita did that in Puerto Rico, and it’s just something we have always done since she moved from the US territory to the United States. We do not do anything else special or unique, but this is one of our most cherished traditions.”