Westlake and Bay Village students share their seasonal traditions

The holiday season has arrived, with all of the magic and wonder that make this time of year so special. It is a time for rejoicing, connecting with loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime. In keeping with the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year tradition, Mrs. Martha Fisher of Westerly Elementary School in Bay Village and Mrs. Melissa Graham of Bassett Elementary School in Westlake asked their students to share favorite family traditions. These are some of their responsses.

Setting up the Christmas Tree
by Brian B., 4th grade, Bassett
Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, my family puts up a Christmas tree. Sometimes we put up a real tree and sometimes an artificial tree. This year we put up a real tree! First we go to the basement and bring up all of the bins that hold the Christmas ornaments. Then, we sort the ornaments into seven piles, one pile for each family member. My whole family puts the lights on the tree together and then we go in the kitchen and get some candy canes. We each hang our pile of ornaments and candy canes on the tree. My parents wrap an ornament for each of my siblings and we get to unwrap the ornaments on that day. Lastly, we hang our new ornaments on the tree. The tree looks really cool when we are finished decorating!

These are my Christmas Traditions
by Elizabeth H., 3rd grade, Westerly
I have two elves on the shelves. Do you know about the elf on the shelf? They are elves that come at Thanksgiving and stay till Christmas and every night they fly back to Santa and tell if you’re good or bad and in the morning they hide so you have to find them. You can’t touch them though, and they can’t go in water, and you can get them at Barnes and Noble. They are my favorite thing about Christmas because I am an only child and there are not many kids on my street. My elves keep me company and sometimes they stay two more days than they’re supposed to. I also invite my best friend over to help decorate the tree and she brings her elf on the shelf. We put all three elves on the shelves while we decorate the tree. We then put all three elves in a basket and go to the zoo. My friend and I love it because the Christmas animals like the polar bear and seals are out. Santa and his reindeer are there. He is in the wolf lodge. The elves are my friends, and I love going. Mrs. Claus is also there giving out candy canes. This is my favorite tradition playing with my elves, and friend, decorating the tree, and going to the zoo to see Santa.

Christmas Eve Excitement!
by Emma K., 4th grade, Bassett
Every year on Christmas Eve, my family and I go to the Saint Ladislas’ evening mass! When mass is finished, we head home and get out of our beautiful church clothes. We wait for my grandma and aunt to come over. When they arrive, they join us on the couch as we watch some football on television. When my mother and father are done preparing our yummy dinner and appetizers, they let us each open one present! I am always excited about this Christmas Eve tradition and I look forward to it every year!

The Start of a New Beginning!
by Reanne J., 4th grade, Bassett
My family has a party on New Year’s Eve. First, we start by getting things ready the day before. We bake chocolate chip cookies, pick out a special movie to watch and decide on a game to play. Some games we play are Sorry, chess, dominoes and a lot of other fun board games. My cousins, aunts and uncles all come over for the party. We enjoy eating desserts and get ready to watch the ball drop on television. We count down the seconds and right when it hits midnight, the new beginning starts. My family cheers and gives each other hugs. I enjoy staying up late and having fun. Happy Holidays!

My Family Christmas
by Michael B., 3rd grade, Westerly
We decorate inside and outside of the house right after Thanksgiving.  My brother and sister and I all have our very own Christmas tree in our rooms. We make hundreds of cookies and give them out to all our neighbors. We love decorating the sugar cookies. We gather up all of the winter and Christmas themed books and put them in a basket by the light of the tree. We make homemade ornaments for our grandparents. We get to go caroling with Sophia and her friends. On Christmas Eve we go to Meme’s and Pepe’s house. The “Holiday Armadillo” always leaves presents for us there. We eat Meme’s homemade pierogies. On Christmas morning we wake up and open all of our presents from Santa. Then later in the day we go to my Grandma's house for a huge dinner with lots of family. Most importantly, at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve we go to the most beautiful mass at St. Charles. Everyone sings. Sometimes us kids are so tired we fall asleep. We leave reindeer food, and milk and cookies for Santa.

Trash or Treasure
by Joey H., 3rd grade, Westerly
We have lots of Christmas traditions but this is my favorite one. We go to both of our grandmas' houses and we have a tradition called trash and treasure. My cousins come to grandma’s house too. We have a real tree. All of Mom’s relatives participate in trash and treasure. We all wrap up stuff we don’t want any more and put it in a pile. Everybody picks a number to see who will pick the first present. After the first present is picked, the next person can choose whether to pick a new present or steal a present that has been opened. If your present is stolen you can go again. Once your present has been stolen three times, it can’t be stolen again. When it is time to go home, we hide behind the house so we don’t have to go!

The Ornament Exchange!
by Tess M., 4th grade, Bassett
Christmas is my favorite time of the year! You might think it’s because of all the presents, by that’s not it! I love Christmas because of the fun parties. My favorite party is an ornament exchange party. A few days before the party, we go out and buy a funny ornament for the party and wrap it in a box. My whole family goes to the ornament exchange and we eat a tasty dinner. Sometimes, I get to even help make dinner! We choose numbers that determine who will select an ornament first and then the numbers are called out from least to greatest. When your number is called, you go up and pick out a wrapped ornament. After all the numbers have been called, you open the box and see what kind of ornament you have! Last year I got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ornament and I can’t wait to hang it on my family’s tree this year!

Christmas Traditions
by Iain R., 3rd grade, Westerly
Christmas is my favorite time of year. My family goes to see "The Nutcracker" with my mom’s side of the family. We always go to the Christmas tree festival. I put my raffle ticket in the box to try to win a bunch of cool stuff like an Ohio State Buckeyes couch and an Xbox. We cut down a humongous tree and take a long time picking it out. Another thing we do is a caroling party and Santa comes and gives the girls rings or coloring books and the boys whoopee cushions. We have been caroling for four years now. We have around 100 people now. Caroling started out small for us, but it has gotten much bigger. This year I had an idea that we could go to the homeless shelter because my DI group went there. We are doing a birthday in a box for that month’s birthday. DI means Destination Imagination. The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to participate in different challenges from the arts to engineering to service learning. We are going to invite neighbors and friends. I hope Santa comes to the homeless shelter!

Diwali
by Manav A., 4th grade, Bassett
My family enjoys celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights! Diwali is not just one day but it’s a five-day holiday! It occurs in October or November. We light 50 candles and put bright lights on our trees outside. The candles stay lit for five days! We pray for our new year goals and after we are done praying, we enjoy delicious Indian sweets such as Indian cake. Indian cake is similar to cheesecake. My family plays card games and my parents give us money to purchase a special gift. Diwali is a very exciting holiday because I get to spend time with my family!

A Very Yummy Christmas
by Jacob M., 4th grade, Bassett
My family enjoys making gingerbread houses every year at a family friend’s house. My uncles, aunts and grandparents all join us. Everybody brings different candy to add to their houses. When we arrive, the gingerbread is baking and it always smells delicious! When the gingerbread is cooled and ready, we glue our houses together with frosting. After the frosting is dry, we start to decorate our houses with candy. We use Twizzlers, M&M’s, Swedish fish and Hershey bars. When we are done decorating, the gingerbread houses look beautiful! I always eat tons of candy while I’m working and am so full when we leave. Making gingerbread houses is my favorite family tradition!

My Christmas Traditions
by Annie D., 3rd grade, Westerly
Christmas is my favorite holiday. My favorite part of Christmas is the stuff I do. I like hiding the pickle ornament. The pickle is hidden by one person. The rest of the people try to find it. You hide the pickle on Christmas Eve. One year I hid it so well that my family didn’t find it till Christmas. Another one of my favorite things to do is when my family and I wash our faces with money for luck. My parents believe that if you wash your face with money that your dreams will come true that night. I think that might be true. It’s a mystery to me. I always love my mom’s special breakfast. We eat it before we go to my grandma’s house. It is made with eggs, sauces and bread. We go to my grandma’s house for Kris Kringle. The year before you pick out of a hat to see who your Kris Kringle is and buy them a present. It is sort of like a secret Santa. These are the things I love about Christmas.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!
by Michael H., 4th grade, Bassett
My favorite family tradition is going to my grandma and grandpa’s house on Dec. 24. We celebrate my grandma’s birthday and Christmas. Her real birthday is actually Dec. 25, but we celebrate it a day early. My cousin and I help my grandma set the table for dinner. When we are done helping, we play a board game until dinner is ready. At 5:00 we have dinner in the dining room on grandma’s beautiful china dishes. After dinner, my grandpa brings in a cake with birthday candles. We sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy some delicious cake and ice cream. We head over to the tree and exchange Christmas and birthday gifts. After opening gifts, the kids head outside for a giant snowball fight! Happy birthday, Grandma!

Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year
by Caroline F., 3rd grade, Westerly
My favorite holiday in the whole world is Christmas! I love all the traditions! I like the elf on the shelf! I have an elf on the shelf and his name is Clyde. I don’t like the book though! Well I used to but my mom read it too much so it got old! One of my favorite family traditions is every Christmas we pick out the best Christmas tree. It has to be perfect! This year we are going to Costco. I know why my mom and dad say we are getting it from Costco – because they are cheap! Then we go shopping for ornaments. Usually we make our own. Last year for Christmas we made ornaments out of Popsicle sticks. I think this year I’m going to make ornaments out of rainbow loom! Rainbow loom is a rubber band bracelet maker. OK you still don’t get it! You can make bracelets or charms or almost anything! Plus it is made out of rubber bands. I also go to church on Christmas Eve. Don’t you love Christmas?      

My Christmas Morning Tradition
by Cadence S., 4th grade, Bassett
My favorite Christmas tradition is when my grandparents, aunts and uncles all come over to my house on Christmas morning. We have a delicious breakfast with eggs, bacon, french toast and lots of other amazing food! My favorite part of the morning, though, is not the delicious breakfast, but opening presents! I always get some really fun presents! After we have opened all of the presents, we watch one of my favorite movies, “The Polar Express.” While we enjoy watching the movie, we drink some of the creamiest hot chocolate! Yum! This is my favorite tradition this time of year.

Where the Fun Begins!
by Basheer A., 4th grade, Bassett
There is one very special day of the year and that day is New Year’s Day! New Year’s Day is where all the fun begins at my house. It’s a special day because there is usually snow and I get to have a snow ball fight and build snowmen with my brother, sister, mom, dad, aunts and uncles. After we have played in the snow for a while and we begin to feel cold, we come inside and enjoy some great tasting hot chocolate and cookies. We warm ourselves by the fire and get to stay up really late! The best part about New Year’s Day is that I get to spend time with my family. What’s your favorite family tradition?

Christmas Traditions
by Mateo B., 3rd grade, Westerly
For Christmas I go to Dayton and at night we go into the neighborhoods to look at all the lights. In the morning we make gingerbread houses. I make mine without a roof so I can make a bed in it. I make a sidewalk and a door out of gingerbread, or sometimes I use a Lego. I make a chocolate pool and gum drop trees. I use Hershey’s for the sidewalk and make ice cream mountains. We set up the tree in the living room on Christmas Eve. I go to church in Dayton. It is very fun when I get a Lego set that is so big we can all build it together.

Christmas with Family
by Marie H., 4th grade, Bassett
Every year my grandparents take my brother, my six cousins and I to my grandma’s work at The Gathering Place. At The Gathering Place, we join in on a Christmas celebration by getting our faces painted, eating great desserts, getting tattoos, making gingerbread houses and even singing Christmas carols with the piano player! We also watch some entertainment that usually includes jugglers, acrobats, dancers and magicians. We always have such a great day because my grandparents are so much fun!

My Christmas Traditions
by Maeve R., 3rd grade, Westerly
Christmas is my favorite time of year. Every year my family and I always go to a Christmas tree barn. We each pick out a Christmas ornament. Then we drink hot cocoa. The hot cocoa tastes like a warm chocolate bar melting in your mouth. After that we have lunch. Next we look around the store. The store has really cute Christmas decorations. Last year I picked out an ornament that had a puppy on it. Then we pick our tree. We always pick a big one. Then they put it in a machine that wraps it in rope. After that we put it on top of our car. I think it would be funny if the tree fell off of our car. We always have so much fun!
My sister, Dad and I always take a train to Tower City near Christmas. We dress warm because we get cold waiting for the train. We hang out and shop at all the fun stores. They sometimes have a play showing. We always go to the candy store. The candy store has lots of candy. We buy a present for my mom there. On the way home my sister Ava and I eat some of our candy.
On Christmas Eve my cousins come to church with us. When we get home we play dress up, house, school, and lots of other games. We have dinner from a restaurant. We track Santa on our Santa tracker. He moves really fast. He can hit one house in one second and I am not kidding. We take turns saying what we want for Christmas. We all can’t wait for the next morning. On Christmas Day after we open presents we eat pancakes. We always stay home and watch movie after movie. We also play board games. We have so much fun!

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Volume 5, Issue 25, Posted 10:37 AM, 12.10.2013