Holiday season brings cheer among students


Sydney Tao

Two commonly celebrated holidays in December are Christmas and Hanukkah. Both have their own unique traditions.

December is jam-packed with holidays, when the spirit of giving, quality times, and comfort foods fill the air.

The winter season is filled with joy for the upcoming celebrations. Many people look forward to seeing their family, eating delicious food, and feeling the excitement.

“[The holiday season] makes me really happy. The anticipation for Christmas gives me a sense of nostalgia that I look forward to every year,” said Christina Yip, a sophomore.

The holidays celebrated this month are more meaningful when cherished with family and friends. Many agree that being with the people you love is what makes the season great.

Nicholas Lamb, a P.E. teacher at Carlmont, shared his experience.

“Having young kids who are 6-years-old and 3-years-old makes the holiday season special all over again. We are able to continue the traditions we grew up with and start our own,” Lamb said.

Each culture has different traditions for celebrating its holidays, and all of them have significance to each individual. Along with traditions, many cultures eat special dishes to honor their holidays.


“At family parties, we always have pig because I’m Filipino, and pig is a big part of our food and culture,” said Will Won, a sophomore.

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, is a Jewish holiday from late November to early December. This celebration has been around for over 2,000 years and consists of many rich traditions. 

“The story of Hanukkah is that hundreds of years ago, one of the most sacred Jewish temples was destroyed. The Jewish people only had enough oil to light candles for one day, and fire was the only source of light and heat at the time. By a miracle, the oil lasted for eight days so now we celebrate for eight nights,” said senior Dani Courtney.

During the eight nights, several rituals are carried out. Separate households may do these in different ways, depending on what has been passed down from their ancestors. Dishes eaten throughout Hanukkah are often fried in oil to represent the oil that kept the candles lit.

“We light candles in menorahs, and each night you add a candle to appreciate how now we are fortunate enough to have this abundance of light. We also eat foods cooked in oil like latkes and sufganiyot,” Courtney said.

Another essential part of the holidays is exchanging presents with the people you love. Some enjoy receiving gifts and discovering what others gave them, but many find that giving is the best part.

One tradition I will not be adopting is the Elf on a Shelf. It didn’t exist when I was a kid, and all I hear is parents complaining about it, so no thanks!”

— Nicholas Lamb

“Giving gifts is my love language. I like to get people gifts as a way to show my appreciation for them,” Yip said.

Generosity plays a vital role in making the holidays so special. Many people donate gifts to programs for less fortunate children, so even those kids can still feel the joy of the holiday season.

“This year, we plan to have our kids pick out a toy to donate to a kid in need,” Lamb said. “I think it’s important for them to learn that they are very fortunate.”

During this time of year, there is even more happiness circulating than usual. The decorations, songs, foods, and people provide a memorable experience regardless of what you celebrate.

“I love the holiday season. Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I still love when people have decorations and lights because it’s so wholesome,” Courtney said. “People seem to be in a better mood because everybody’s looking forward to their own holidays.”