To many Leesville students, the little traditions and memories they hold dear make the winter holidays special.
Some students stay traditional with the holidays by taking out Christmas trees from the attics while others buy fresh trees with their families. Ornaments, stars and ribbons then cover the trees. They scatter bells and mistletoe reefs throughout the home. Scents of fresh baked cookies and peppermint waft through the halls and cling to clothes.
Grace McLeod, senior, makes popcorn and cranberry garlands for the birds. She also covers pine cones with peanut butter and bird seeds.
Many students are involved in some type of baking whether that be Christmas dinner or dessert. Cassidy Johnson, senior, creates chocolats and bakes cookies in the shapes of angels and bells with her mother during these holiday weeks. To her baking with her family means, having a fun time with the people she loves. “I also love giving people choclate,” said she.
Bells have become a common symbol of the holidays over the years. There is the tradition of ringing a bell three times before eating the first cookie of the first batch. Johnson’s mother rings a bell on the morning of Christmas to alert her and her sister to come downstairs to open presents. While some wait to the morning of, some eager children open one present each Christmas Eve night.
For people like Elliot Winkler, one of the best parts of the holidays has always been drinking hot cocoa every night by the fireplace. “(I) feel cozy inside when the fire is delightful and the outside weather is frightful,” said Winkler, junior.
Luiza Lopes, however, does not have to worry about the cold winter weather as she takes a family vacation to the country. “( My favorite tradition is) going to the countryside with my entire family and staying at the pool eating ice cream all day,” said Lopes, junior. By leaving the busy city to an open field, Lopes is able to truly spend time with her family without work and school coming between them.
Keeping with the traditions of spending time with family and friends, many host and attend Christmas Eve parties. Before the parties, the Wood Valley subdivision holds lightings of the luminaries every year and have carolers singing cherished carols.
Devon Wilson, junior, and her family hides the “Christmas Elf.” One person hides a tiny stuffed elf for the others to find, creating a friendly competition among the family of four.
Then, after all the gifts have been wrapped and the baked goods cooked, children and teenagers, too, read Christmas books on its eve, write letters to Santa and leave cookies and milk out for him. Some even track Santa’s whereabouts via NORAD Tracks Santa.
Even though there are thousands of traditions that hold thousands of memories, one fact remains true: Those special traditions help make the holidays special.