Christmas traditions continue through the years

Santa Claus is coming to town
Image by Zanastardust via Flickr

Roxanne DeAngelo
Staff Writer

What makes traditions, especially those around the holidays so important? Many traditions have become embedded in our lifestyles. When most college students return home over break, there is some type of fulfillment needed as the holidays approach.

Traditions which provide routine and structure, are great for the family environment. Traditions are a great way to build memories and share stories of Christmas’ past.

Some of the most common and more favorable traditions remembered and still practiced today have been passed down through generations. Everything from food to decorations has a background story.

The original Santa Claus, otherwise known as St. Nick, was born in Turkey during the 4th century. He was a very
religious man who was held in contempt and imprisoned by the Romans for not believing in their Gods. After his release and death, he became known as the patron of children since he liked to leave treats in their wooden shoes.

Santa for Americans was created in 1931 by the advertising department of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola wanted to increase their holiday sales, so they wrapped their products in the image of a jolly old man with rosy red cheeks in a red outfit. Since they have advertised him this way for over 70 years, Americans have accepted this as the correct imagery for Santa Claus.

In Russia, St. Nick is known as Father Frost and wears either winter furs or bishop’s robes. In Italy, St. Nick doesn’t bring the presents, but the kind witch named Befana drops them off through the chimneys.

Another tradition would be the Christmas tree. The idea of decorating a tree originated in Germany during the 16th century. In the 1820’s the idea was then brought over from the Germans to Pennsylvania when they immigrated to North America.

The decorations for the iconic Christmas tree have evolved from roses, apples, and lit candles, to stringed popcorn, stringed lights, and tinsel. The last tradition to be mentioned has to do with the large amounts of food that always seems to come back every year.

In light of all these traditions every family has its own unique ones. Here is just a taste of what our fellow classmates had to say about theirs:

Gaetan Desmione- My family is really big, so just hanging out with them. It’s a time when we can actually get together.
Matt Basista- We watch A Christmas Story 24 hours straight.

Amanda Chabala- I would have to say baking all kinds of cookies and pastries with my family while listening to Christmas music. I love spending time with my family; it’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

Morgan Strasser- That’s a tough one. It’s a tie between baking cookies and being with the family.

Joseph J. Mozaleski- A few days before Christmas I usually go with family to see the “Lights on the Lake” display in Onondaga Lake Park just outside Syracuse, NY. I have been doing this for about all my life as we have extended family that lives up there and we pay a visit around Christmas time.

Natasha Lee- Just getting to see my whole family at dinner; all my cousins, aunts, and uncles that I don’t get to see much during the rest of the year.

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