Christmas trees are decorated with glowing lights and delicate ornaments. Christmas music blares from speakers. People rush to stores to complete Christmas shopping.
And others are beginning their yearly Christmas traditions.
Victoria Petty, an alumna, has a few Christmas traditions that come with some work. Every Christmas, the Petty family collects yearly highlights from each member and publishes them in the form of a newsletter called the Petty Plums. Petty explained that the tradition has been around for at least 30 years but most likely longer.
She described when a member of the family turns 18 they receive a full page in the newsletter. After everyone has completed their pages digitally they are sent off to Petty’s great uncle who then creates digital and printed versions, which are then distributed for the members of the family to read.
She explained the name of the newsletter Petty Plums was inspired by a popular treat in the old days.
“Plums are considered a treat back in the great depression, so it is like getting this update from the family is a treat,” Petty said.
Suzanne Malicoat, a sophomore studying occupational safety and health, has a tradition that occurs every Christmas Eve. In the small town of Green River, Wyoming, Malicoat, and her family cozy up in their gifted matching pajamas and hop in the car.
During their drive, they make a pitstop at McDonald’s to grab some steaming hot chocolates to keep them warm. Then they cruise all over town to admire the extravagant lights on the homes of Green River.
Malicoat shared one of her favorite moments when driving to see the lights.
“People take paper bags and they have this special sand that goes inside and then they put candles inside of them,” Malicoat said. “And then once you hit the start point you turn off your lights and all the bags of candles light the road. It’s way cool.”
Shayla Dopp, a sophomore majoring in general studies, has a tradition that makes her mouth water.
Every year in the month of December, Dopp’s aunt hosts a Christmas cookie social in her home. The tradition was started by Dopp’s grandmother and her grandmother’s sisters who lived in Newdale, Idaho. Members of their family would bake their own cookies and then gather together to share them.
However, the event is open to more than just the family. Members of the community are invited to bring their cookies and socialize.
“They invite people from around Newdale every time they do it, to come and share cookies and get to know people,” Dopp said. “It’s been a fun thing because you get to eat like a million cookies and talk and meet people.”
These Christmas traditions, and more, have deep importance.
According to PsychCentral, “Holiday traditions are an important part to building a strong bond between family, and our community. They give us a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important to us. They connect us to our history and help us celebrate generations of family.”
What are your Christmas traditions?