Holiday Traditions across the Presidential Fellowship

Holiday Traditions
December 18, 2018

As we conclude the semester and enter winter break, the Fellows and Advising Team members reflected on significant holiday traditions.

Fellows:

Emily: My dad's birthday is on Christmas Eve so every year we have a big dinner for him and get a special bûche de noël, a French christmas cake, to celebrate.  

Gaby: On the first day of the year my mom makes 15 bean soup for everyone to eat. It’s suppose to bring us good luck in the new year.

Helen-Christy: On Christmas Eve we go to our church’s candlelit evening service. It’s always great to see our church family and enjoy the holiday spirit.

IanNear our house in Georgia, we have an outdoor shopping center with a movie theatre and, around the holidays, an ice skating rink. Since my family moved together, we have spent time together by finding a night, skating and then grabbing hot chocolate to warm up in one of the cafes nearby. It’s a nice, cozy holiday tradition, especially because we do not have many opportunities to be together the rest of the year.

Matthew: Each year my parents buy an ornament for all of the children in my extended family to add to my grandparents’ Christmas tree.

Camila: On Christmas Day, my family goes to different disadvantaged neighborhoods to provide groceries, gifts and clothes for families. We find ways to interact and play with them so they can feel valued during this special time of the year.

Haley: Every year my family watches National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and we sit around eating Raclette. We have done this for the past 10 years and now know the movie pretty much word for word.

Ino: My family in the Philippines links up with other groups to help cook a large meal for the inmates in our local prison. Christmas is a time for giving :)

Kalpana: My brother and I love spending our time together cooking up a large feast for our family: baked goods, Indian cuisine, comfort food, you name it! Meals are generally followed by inventive games created by my brother for our family to play: personalized jeopardy, geography, problem solving, etc. He outsmarts us all every time!

Tereese: After opening presents and eating a huge pancake breakfast, my family spends hours playing various board games on Christmas Day. Each year my grandma buys us a new one, so we play the new one and always finish up the day with an intensely competitive round of Uno!

 

The Advising Team:

Mae: My extended family, which can number up to 70 people, has gathered together for Christmas night dinner for over 80 years. We have a large pot-luck dinner and  after eating, everyone sits in a circle and shares an update about their life over the past year. It’s a great way to keep up with such a large family!

Marva: On one of the days leading up to Christmas, my family hosted a choir of ‘carolers’ with sweet potato pudding, guava rum, coconut and guava tarts and other west indian delicacies. On Christmas day we attend service at 5 am to ring in the day in celebration and prayer!

Kathy: My children and and I have always made Christmas wreaths out of Rice Krispies with lots of green food coloring and red hots as holly. When the 4 were young we would make dozens so as to take to all of their classes plus friends. We’ve made thousands of Rice Krispie wreaths over the years!

Rachel: On New Year’s Day, we invite neighbors for pork and sauerkraut which is supposed to bring good fortune for the New Year.  

Toby: Lately it has been roadtripping with my uncle and cousin to North Carolina and Florida to be with family. When I was younger, my parents and I would have a delicious Chinese dinner and see a movie on Christmas Day (since they were the only venues open and we didn’t celebrate Christmas). Although events vary from year to year these days, my personal main focus centers  around quality time with family and friends.

Kalpana Vissa

Kalpana is a first year fellow pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in the Milken Institute School of Public Health with a professional placement in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Clinical Research and Leadership.