Deck the halls with…peacocks?By JESSICA FLORES and CAITLIN KNOX Copy Editors
As the holiday season approaches, one cannot help but think of the various traditions that are celebrated during Christmas. Some are
classic and traditional, others are as unique as the people who started them. Over the past week, we set out on a mission to discover the unique traditions of Georgetown students, faculty and staff. Here is what we found.
Generally, it is not so unusual for a parent to “play Santa” for the benefit of their children. When your child is six or seven, this tradition is sweet. Should this still apply when they are 16, 18 and 21? If you are a member of Cheryl and Robert Brumley’s family, it sure does! “We throw a fit if we don’t do it every year. It sounds silly with us being so old, but we’re sticklers for tradition,” Cheryl says. But as the children age, so do “Santa’s” tastes, as their Santa now requests cheese and wine in place of cookies and milk.
Food is always a big part of Christmas; we all love the eggnog, the gingerbread and holiday ham. But sophomore Kelsey Burton’s family enjoys a good old-fashioned birthday cake instead. “We put 25 candles on the cake which says, ‘Happy Birthday,’ and then sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus. It’s more for the little kids, but I like the cake either way,” she says.
For some people, what is most important during the holidays is quality time spent with the ones they love. “The Gambills spend Christmas at their ‘farm’ in the western N.C. mountains [in] a small two-bedroom house with no TV!” says Dr. Todd Gambill.
Dr. Alison Jackson Tabor’s family, on the other hand, prefers being surrounded by family and entertainment. In her family, the children always put on a puppet show the day after Christmas. “It helps with the Christmas let down that sometimes follows all of the festivities,” she says. As for the adults, they enjoy writing festive poems for one another. They also make donations to various charities and organizations in lieu of gifts. For them, it is truly the season of giving.
Some families enjoy keeping traditions alive that have been passed down through generations. Dr. Lloyd Clark reads the same story to her daughter every year. “I read a story written by my grandmother called ‘Christmas on the Farm.’ It is basically a letter written by my grandmother to her three children about the true meaning of Christmas.”
Dr. Rosemary Allen also celebrates a time-honored tradition. She explains that during college, her roommate presented her with a brass candlestick and told her that each year on Christmas Eve she should light it and place it in her window so that “it would be part of a network of lit candles all around the country representing enduring friendships.” And this reminds the Shakespearean scholar of a line from “The Merchant of Venice” which says, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
Of course, it is fairly impossible to think of the holidays without picturing the presents that come with them. And for some students, the presents just keep on coming. Sophomore Destiny Cornell says that her family participates in the “12 Days of Christmas.” “My sisters and I get one present a day until Christmas, and then it’s the grand finale on Christmas Day!” she explains. We personally feel that this tradition is one we would like to adopt in order to receive early presents.
Traditions can also be inspired by holiday movies. Junior Meredith Rigby, for example, finds inspiration from the classic film “Elf.” She adorns the family home with an array of decorations each year, including snow flakes, paper chains, tinsel garlands and white Christmas lights.
Finally, when all else fails, look to nature for holiday inspiration. At least, this is what Sophomore Shay McCleavy’s family does. “One year, our family had three trees. One was the traditional family tree, the next was a Santa Claus tree, and the last was a peacock tree. It was full of ornaments inspired by nature, complete with a peacock topper.” Shay, whose mother is an art teacher, was unaware for years that this was not the norm in most American households. So whatever your holiday traditions are, be they traditional or slightly more unique, keep an open mind this year. Maybe it’s time your family invested in a leg lamp, or a piece of cheese carved to look like St. Nick or decided to hang the tree upside down (it’s legit, we googled it). Who knows? You may find a new tradition that will stay with your family for years to come.