Tis the season

Students discuss their different holiday traditions

Students can rejoice knowing that about a week from now begins a whole month of holidays, family time, and winter activities.

That’s right, we survived first semester and are now about to be rewarded with what is truly the most wonderful time of the year: winter break.

Nursing junior Amanda Mathy is ready to break out her Christmas sweater and get into the holiday spirit.

“I’m looking forward to my annual ugly Christmas sweater party with friends and family because I get to see all my close family and friends I haven’t seen in almost a year,” Mathy said.

Mathy isn’t filling her vacation with Netflix and naps, but is instead focusing on how she can give back this holiday season. She is volunteering at a preschool for her nursing program and said she is excited to teach nursing skills to three and four year olds.

The thought of being reunited with loved ones is also a motivator to get students through mass amounts of studying and exams in the near future.

“I get excited to see my pets because we don’t have any pets up here,” Social Work sophomore Devin Hodgson said. “I also like to spend time with my mom; we’re actually going to Cancun for the first week of Christmas break.”

Pre-Veterinary Medicine senior Julie Cohen is Jewish, and therefore doesn’t participate in Christmas. Her winter break is a little different than most, but no less enjoyable.

“I kind of abandon my religion while I’m up here because there are no resources for Jews and the closest synagogue or Jewish population is in Grand Rapids,” Cohen said. “So I’m really excited to go home and do Hanukkah things.”

Those who don’t know otherwise may assume that Hanukkah is somewhat of the Jewish version of Christmas, but there is much more to it.

“Hanukkah isn’t even really a major holiday except for in America because it’s associated with Christmas,” Cohen said. “So in Israel it’s a small holiday, but it does have a big meaning, which is to celebrate the miracles that happened at that time.”

For eight days, Cohen and her family honor the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the in the Maccabean Revolt that took place in second century B.C.

“The way we celebrate Hanukkah is by having our own menorah,” said Cohen. “We light a candle for each day and after the eighth day we give presents, which is just more of an American thing to do to make up for Christmas.”

Even though her holiday season doesn’t look like most students’, Cohen is still looking forward to what everyone loves about the holidays: good times, good food, and good people.