Latkes and Family

“Since I’m Jewish, [my family] has a lot more holidays than the average American celebrates,” junior Naomi Benatar said. “Every holiday we go to synagogue and we pray. Since Hanukkah is typically considered the least important holiday, [my family] doesn’t do much, but as it is typical to celebrate the oil that lasted all eight days we eat oily foods. We light the candles and someone will play the piano and we’ll sing.”

“Most people, when I tell them that I celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas, they say, ‘Oh you’re so lucky! You get eight days of presents instead of just one.’ In my family, we don’t really do presents. Instead, we hang out and just enjoy [each other’s company],” she said. “By celebrating the Jewish holidays, it continues to remind us that … through all our holidays we’re just able to regroup together and enjoy each other and what the [day] stands for.”

Chiller Chillin’

Though senior Jack Mueller is known for playing football on the Marv, his family has a Thanksgiving tradition ushering in the winter months with a different sport.

“My family­—my whole, extended family—always goes ice skating on Thanksgiving after we eat,” he said. “My cousin’s uncle is the manager in charge at the [Dublin] Chiller, so he opens it—it’s normally closed [on Thanksgiving]—but he opens it up just for us so we can go and skate.”

“The whole family [attends]. Anybody related to anybody with the last name Mueller [is there], so 50 people,” Mueller said.

“[The best part for me is] the fact that the whole extended family is involved, and we get to do it every year. I’ve got cousins that live over in Indiana that I don’t get to see very much, and also my grandparents that live over in Texas [come and skate with us.] So if you come to the Chiller on Thanksgiving [they] won’t let you in. It’s Muellers, Belews and Gablesons.”

All about Eid

“There are five holidays [in Islam] called Eid. The main one is after Ramadan, which is after you don’t eat or drink [until after sunset for almost a month]. My family and I normally go out and and have a little prayer, normally at a mosque. Then, we go out to eat, and we usually spend at least two weeks before it buying each other presents,” junior Sena Albash said. “[What my family does] is kind of like what Christians do in Christmas; they might give presents or money.”

“This year, we went out and prayed, then we went out to eat at an Arabic restaurant, because we rarely go out to eat. Then we exchanged gifts. I sometimes celebrate with my friends; we used to exchange gifts with them too. We [did] Secret Santa sometimes. [Also] this year, we went to Michigan, because in Dearborn, there are a lot of Muslims, so we went to a Mosque there, a big one. It was just something new to do. It’s just like any other holiday; everyone has their own traditions.”

Cabin Christmas

“Each [Christmas] my family travels to Cacapon State Park in West Virginia, where we meet up with the rest of my family and rent cabins for two weeks,” junior Catt Perry said. “It’s the one time of year I get to be with all of my family all at once.”

“Each year, we have a winter hike, and [we all] climb the trail to the highest point on the mountain range surrounding the park. We also have a scavenger hunt for the [little] kids that the two oldest cousins (my cousin Bren and I) create. The day before we all leave to head home, we have a nice, dressy dinner at the lodge. We put [many tables together] to create one long table that everyone can sit at. Afterwards, we all meet at one of the two cabins and we have a Secret Santa party. ”

“It’s a tradition that I wouldn’t give up for anything,” she said. “I love my family and even though we all live so far away and we all have our differences, it’s nice to be able to put them all aside and just spend time together. That time spent with them creates memories that I’ll never forget and will always be special to me.”