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RWC Holiday Traditions

Our RWC tutors describe some of their favorite traditions to practice during the holiday season.

Spending the holidays with family, friends, and loved ones is what makes the holidays special. Here at the RWC, we celebrate in a multitude of ways. Our staff have many fun and unique holiday traditions that make this time of year magical. Below are some of the RWC staff's favorite ways to spend the holiday season. We hope you get inspired to make some new traditions with your family!

Hannah Kleinkramer-

My family's Christmas traditions always start with making the most labor-intensive, back-breaking Christmas cookies of all time. We make Pennsylvania Dutch-style Christmas cookies, which need to be paper thin. And when I say paper thin, I mean it. My mother always says if you can't read a newspaper through the cookie dough, then they aren't thin enough. After slaving away seven hours (seriously) over the rolling pin, they must be baked for precisely 1 ½ minutes and then rotated. Even a second too long could be total utter destruction of the cookies. Did I mention that our oven is from the 1930 and isn't very reliable? That adds a whole new layer of fun to the baking experience. Okay, but in all seriousness, making cookies with my mom and sister is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I love decorating them with sprinkles and then giving out bags full to all the people I love.

Jackie Arriaga -

The Holiday season for my family always begins with decorating the house. Each year, around the first week of December, we take out an old tub from the garage and drag it into the living room, where, my sister, mom, and I huddle around the tub and start. taking out each ornament, magnet, and piece of garland from Christmas past. We love reminiscing and talking about the memories we have made as a family over the years, such as the pictures of us going to the snow or of my sister with her toothless grin holding up her present. Once we have relived every memory, we are ready to start decorating! With Chuck Berry singing in the background, “Run, Run Rudolph,” we hang up each frame on the wall, place every centerpiece on the tables, hang the garland on the arches, set up the nativity scene, and put up our diy-ed snowmen (sometimes having to glue back broken pieces). Only then, can the Holiday festivities truly begin.

Jack Stewart-

In my family, we sometimes celebrate Hogmany. Hogmany is the traditional Scottish celebration of the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. Some of the customs include singing Auld Lang Syne, setting off fireworks, and drinking champagne. My family has adapted this to include drinking whiskey, eating steak pie, setting off small firecrackers, and dancing around the house.

Hannah Grace Leece-

Christmas, for me, has looked different every year. Between living with my dad, my mom, and stepdad, my dad and stepmom (and the multi-generational family within that duo), or my best friend’s family this past year, I’ve never had a set family tradition over the years. But I can still share some of the highlights! Since my stepdad Bob has been a cop for a few years now; when I lived with him, my mom, and my brother, we would do Christmas gifts early the evening before because he would always work on Christmas morning. But then I moved in with my dad, stepmom, her kids, their kids, and many other families that brought our number of gifts to give in the double-digits! In that family, we would have to pick a spot in the living room and practically barricade ourselves with a wall of gifts that we would pass around very late Christmas night and then open right at midnight. We’d also play games together and sometimes have a few Christmas cookies.

Jannette Rodriguez-

During the holidays, it has always been my mother and siblings. All of my relatives are in Mexico, so it is just my immediate family celebrating. As I reached middle school, my mom stopped decorating for Christmas so the magic was kind of gone, however we still had a feast. One of my fondest moments during the holiday season is helping my mom make the tamales. We split this job in two; I fill the corn husk with cheese or pork and chicken as my mom puts the masa. My mom also makes pozole so the whole apartment is filled with wondrous smells.

As of 2021, my family has gone to Sacramento to celebrate Christmas eve with my mom and stepdad. My sister, nieces, and brother-in-law visit too. My sisters and I help my mom cook as my brother prepares the table. We play board games to pass the time until we can open the presents (which is at 9 PM because my nieces are too excited) Afterwards it is time for bed. This year, my mom is coming to my house to celebrate. It is quite exciting since I finally got a Christmas tree after 10 years so it feels extra special.

Daniela Gutierrez-

One of my fondest holiday traditions was when I was a little kid. I remember waiting for the Three Wise Men to bring me a present. In this tradition, kids leave a shoe out during the night with the expectation that there will be a present waiting for them in the morning. Why do we leave out a shoe? I am not sure why exactly. This tradition is celebrated in Mexico on January 6. Now that I am older, I no longer receive any gifts from the Three Wise Men. Instead, I see my little cousins and the other kids show their presents to one another. The morning of January 6 is a joyous occasion for kids as they ride their new bikes and play with their dolls or toy trucks. Another unique tradition is to “Pedir el Beso,” which roughly translates to “Ask for the kiss.” Families go from home to home to place a kiss on “El Nino Dios,” or the holy statue of baby Jesus, and in return, receive candy. The candy is known as receiving “El Beso,” or the kiss. The streets are filled with people walking in and out of each other’s homes as they receive “El Beso.” By the night's end, some people have a bag full of “kisses!”

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