Westlake students share their favorite 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. For the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year feature, students from Mrs. Jannell Sargent’s fourth-grade class at Dover Elementary in Westlake share favorite family traditions.

Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve, we go to church where we stay up until 3:00 a.m. We sing “Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Christ is Born.” After Mass, we head home and go straight to bed. The next morning, we take a mini-train to Santa’s Village. On our train ride we sing songs together. Santa joins us on the train, and gives us treats! When we get home, I help my mom make cookies. I am in charge of decorating them with sprinkles. I always enjoy this time with my family!
– Stephen B.

Decorating for Christmas
My family has many Christmas traditions. First, we decorate our Christmas tree with silver and blue ornaments. Then, we put up our special ornaments. We get to pick a new ornament every year for the tree. Next, we put the star on top of the tree. After we put up our Christmas tree, we put up our stockings. Our stockings are white and blue so we put them in a pattern of blue, white, blue, white. We put nutcrackers on the fireplace next to the stockings. Then, we decorate outside, and put lights on the house. Finally, we are done decorating and ready for Christmas!
– Mateo H.

Every winter, my family celebrates Christmas in Naples, Florida. First, my family gets packed up for Florida. Next, we start to drive. A couple of hours later, we stop at Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia. We eat food such as sandwiches, water, and chips. After that, we look in stores for stained glass, kitchen materials, and pottery. Then, we leave West Virginia, on the way we drive through mountains which is really cool. We also play games like “We’re going to Florida and bringing...” Around 2:00 a.m. we get to a rest stop in Atlanta, Georgia, and sleep in the car. We wake up at 5:00 a.m. A couple of hours later we’re in Florida!! When we get to the condo, we go in and rest. After that, we go swimming. On Christmas Day, we open gifts and our stockings, and then go to the Mercado and shop and get ice cream. I get violet ice cream. That is my dessert before dinner. We have chicken parmesan and veggies. We stay in Florida for a week or two, and then head back home.
– Meredith C.

My Christmas
My family celebrates Christmas. First, we wake up and dress up in our new dresses. Then, we all go to church. We light candles, turn off all the lights, and sing Arabic songs. Afterwards, we eat Christmas dinner at church with family and friends. Finally, we go home and eat again, watch a movie, and read stories. I enjoy my Christmas!  
– Maria E.

My New Year’s Tradition
We go to my Grandma’s house in Pakistan for New Year’s Eve. First, we greet our aunts and uncles. Then, we eat chicken nuggets, ice cream, burgers, and juice to drink. After that, we all settle down from our 15-hour flight. We just change and take a nap. Then, we come together and watch TV. Next, we go to the mall. The girls go to the make-up, jewelry, and perfume stores. The boys go to the sports stores. When we’re done we come home with a lot of bags. After that, we watch Christmas movies with popcorn and hot cocoa. Finally, we wait until it is midnight by showing each other what we got from the mall. At midnight, we have a dinner of pasta, pizza, mashed potatoes, and cake. We have a great time there every year.
– Shahar Bano N.

My family celebrates Ramadan. During Ramadan, we fast for a whole month. Before the sun comes up, we have a small meal. During the day, we watch movies. Then, we break our fast at sunset. When my family eats, we eat certain foods such as chicken, salad, and rice. We are not allowed to eat pork or gelatin. The day after Ramadan is called Eid. On Eid we get money from our family members. Eid lasts for three days. In the afternoon, we go to my aunt's house with my uncles, cousins, and my grandma and celebrate Eid. After Eid, we go shopping and buy things with our money. I love my family’s winter traditions!
– Adam A.

Secret Santa
Every year, for a Christmas tradition, my family does Secret Santa at my house. On Thanksgiving, we eat appetizers, and then our dads sleep on the couch and watch TV. Next, we watch movies, and after that eat dinner. Once we finish, I go to the kitchen and write down names, and put them in a jar. We pick names out of the jar and become that person’s Secret Santa. We then go buy gifts for that person. On Christmas night we give our gifts and find out who our Secret Santa is. Secret Santa is so much fun!
– Braulie H.

My New Year’s Eve
Every year on New Year's Eve my family and I go to my dad’s friend’s house. First, we hop into the car and drive to Strongsville to meet my dad’s friends, the Hylands. The Hylands have their family over, too. Next, we eat dinner. It’s normally Chipotle or frozen foods. After that we eat dessert. My favorite dessert is the cookies. Then, at 7:00 p.m., we celebrate the Irish New Year. We use funky instruments and some people dance. After that we play games like Sorry, Guess That President, or Farkle until midnight. Finally, it’s midnight!  We have the TV on and watch the countdown.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Happy New Year!  Everyone blows horns and dances. Once everybody has settled down my family says goodbye and leaves. What do you do on New Year's Eve?  
– Rebecca J.

My Christmas Traditions
My family celebrates Christmas and I don’t think we can have any more fun than we do. My family starts out the year by setting up our Christmas tree with white lights and blue-and-white ornaments. Later that day, we go to a Christmas store called Gale’s to buy ornaments. I like to collect glass birds with feathers, such as hummingbirds, eagles, and bluebirds. Next, we set up our decorations, and make mint and chocolate cookies for the party on Christmas day. Then, we jump in the car and go to our dad’s house on Christmas Eve to see him because we will be at our mom's house on Christmas day. At our dad's house we open our presents and help him decorate for a party at his house. Finally, it's Christmas day and we celebrate with our cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. We eat pies and other delicious foods, then open presents and have an awesome time. I love my family tradition and hope it stays like this every year.  
– Cole S.

The Best Times
Every year my family goes to Virginia to celebrate Christmas and Christmas Eve for about 6-7 days. First, we pack up and hop in the RV and get ready for the 7-hour road trip. During the trip, we usually stop at a restaurant for lunch and then stop at an ice cream place for dessert. When we get to my grandma and grandpa’s house we try to sneak up and surprise them. Next, we eat dinner and usually have turkey and fondue. Then, I am excited for dessert because my grandma makes the best cookies, and sometimes when we are lucky, she makes cake. Then, on Christmas Eve we hang out with my cousins, aunt and uncle, open presents, and get the cookies and milk ready for Santa in the morning. Finally, on Christmas, my aunt, uncle, and cousins come over to celebrate and share the gifts we got. After that, we usually watch a long movie to keep Christmas time going. I always have the best time in Virginia. Merry Christmas!
– Ethan T.

Busy Days
On Christmas and the days before my family and I have many traditions. First, we go get a Christmas tree for us and Grandma Mack. After we find two perfect trees, we go back home. Once we get home, we decorate the blueish-greenish tree with colorful, Disney, and baby ornaments. Then, my stepdad chooses who’s next to put the beautiful angel on the tree. Next, my mom rips a piece of paper and puts them in a black Patton’s Five Star Towing hat. We pick a piece of ripped paper and read the name of our Secret Santa. Last year, my Secret Santa was my stepbrother, Sean. On Christmas Eve, my mom drops my brother Mikey and me off at my dad’s house. First, we dress in our pjs then at 4:00 p.m., we jump in my dad’s white truck and go to my Lita’s house. We go inside her house and say hi to our cousins and then play with them. After dinner, we look for the shiny pickle on the tree. The finder gets $15 to $20! Then we have a time of chaos opening presents. Finally, it’s Christmas Day. We wake up, and after opening presents at my dad’s he takes Mikey and I back to my mom’s house. My stepdad hides us under blankets and puts us in a room until my mom tells us to come out then we open presents together. We have lots of traditions!
– Lyla C.

On Christmas Day, I wake up at my dad’s house, and we open presents. Then we all get ready and go to my aunt’s house. At her house, we open presents and eat cookies. After that, we go to my mom’s house, and my cousin is there, too. We open presents, and then have dinner. We usually have sandwiches, french fries, and mashed potatoes. At the end of the day, I play with all of my toys. I love Christmas!
– Austin D.

New Year’s Celebration
Every year my family celebrates New Year’s Eve with my cousins. I go to my cousin’s house in Bay Village. It takes 15 minutes to get to their house. We play games, like soccer, when we are there. We go to the movie theater as a family. We eat popcorn and candy. When the movie is over, we eat dinner. We usually have chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy. After dinner, I watch TV with my cousins. At midnight, we watch the countdown and then leave to go back home. I love New Year’s Eve!
– Elias E.

My Christmas Traditions
I love to celebrate Christmas with my family. First, I wake up, get ready, and then I run down stairs as fast as I can and yell “Merry Christmas!” Next, my mom takes pictures and posts them on Facebook. Then, we open some presents from each other and empty out our stockings. We mostly get candy and working tools. My mom, my brother and I get one more mini stocking, and my dad gets one bigger stocking! I need to find my Elf on the Shelf! His name is Zeus. Last, my cousins, aunts, uncles, Oma, Opa, Grandma, and Papa come to our house. Once everyone is there, the kids put on santa hats, and the adults sit on the couch. The kids get to grab presents, see who it is for, and gives it to them! We have the best Christmas!
– Ryan M.

Cookies for the Neighbors
Every year, midday on Christmas Eve, my family has an amazing time putting up the Christmas tree. We go up to storage and bring back our Christmas tree and ornaments. We put up the Christmas tree and then we take out our ornaments. Then my mom sorts through her “I Love Lucy” and “Marilyn Monroe” ornaments. Then when we're done, we make hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies. At 6:00 p.m., we bake oatmeal cookies for my neighbor, and when we’re done we bake chocolate chip and sugar cookies for our other neighbor. The best part is that when we’re done, us kids get to lick the bowls!! Christmas morning we give our Elf on the Shelf her presents that we bought her. Then, I go jump on my mom to wake her up with my sister. Next, we go wake up my grandma and open our presents at my house. We get bundled up, choose two new toys, and we hop in the car and go to my great-grandma's house. I’m always excited when it’s Christmas because of all my family traditions!
– Aibrey B.

My family celebrates Eid. We wake up and see presents on the table, but we can’t open them until after we eat breakfast. We play with our presents and eat cookies. My favorite cookies are the peanut butter and jelly ones. My sister and I spend the rest of the day playing together. Eid is such a fun day.
– Laialy H.

My Winter Traditions
Here are some of my winter traditions. We decorate for a while, setting up the tree, lights, ornaments, bows, and stockings. At my grandma’s, we do a gift exchange with my family. Then, we hang out with my cousins and eat. My parents wrap the special presents for me and my brother.  My brother and mom wrap presents for me and my dad. My dad and I wrap presents for my mom and my brother. On Christmas morning, I wake up and peek at the tree, then go to my room and read until everyone is awake. Once everyone wakes up, my brother and I go into the living room and my parents drink their coffee. When they’re done drinking their coffee, all four of us open our presents! I hope you find my traditions interesting.
– Kyra R.

My Amazing Christmas
I love my family’s Christmas traditions! We put up decorations around the house and lights on the Christmas tree. I enjoy opening the presents I get from my friends and family on Christmas Day. In my stocking, I get Beyblade Burst toys, books and a lot of candy. I hope we keep these traditions for a long time.
– Nyaire R.

My Family Traditions
It's time for the holidays and I celebrate Christmas! On Christmas Eve, we go to my grandma's house and celebrate Christmas Eve with her. There are usually cookies, brownies and many more desserts. My favorite are the brownies. After we finish opening our presents, the elves ring the bell so we know our new pajamas are ready! We quickly try them on, but they are always too big! Then we go home, and it's time to go to bed. We’re too excited for Christmas to sleep! About 6:00 a.m., my brother and I wake up and hang out together talking about Christmas and lots more. When it is 7:00 a.m. my brother and I run downstairs and open all our presents! Usually Santa leaves a special funny surprise. Last year, he left a Yoda on a present holding a cute stuffed animal!  We take a picture and spend the rest of the day together as a family. I have the best Christmas every year.
– Jerry S.

My Favorite Holiday
Christmas is so fun! I am going to tell you all about my family traditions. On Christmas Eve morning I wake up at my dad’s and eat breakfast. We have pancakes, then watch Christmas specials. At five o'clock, I go to my mom’s house. My brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, mom, and stepdad get ready to go to my aunt's and uncle’s house. The girls wear dresses and the boys wear nice shirts and pants. At my aunt’s and uncle’s we play with our cousins, then eat dinner. For dinner, we have green bean casserole, potatoes, rolls, turkey, and dessert. Then, I go back to my dad’s where we say goodbye to our elves then go to sleep. It is hard to fall asleep and wait for Santa! The next morning, I wake up super early to open presents, and I play with my new toys. By now, it is time to go to our mom’s, and we open presents there. There's a lot for all seven of us. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
– Marissa H.

My Crazy Christmas!
Every year I have a crazy Christmas and it is amazing! First, we put up our tree on the day before Thanksgiving. Decorating my tree is so fun! Almost every year I have a friend over to help decorate the tree with me. Two days after Thanksgiving my Elves on the Shelf come. I have one boy elf and one girl elf. I even have a dog elf! On Dec. 2 my mom’s side of the family has a huge tree trimming party with a feast at my great-grandma’s house. On Christmas morning I’m always the first one up, so I go to my brother's rooms to wake them up. I hop on top of the oldest brother to wake him up because he is not a morning person, but my other brother is easy to wake up. Then we go to my parent’s room and I jump on their bed and they get up really fast. Later that day, my grandma makes a huge meal and it is so good! Merry Christmas!
– Rebecca S.

The New Year
Every year my family celebrates the New Year. First, my mom makes her homemade cake. My sister and I help her. My mom calls me to take out the ingredients. Next, while I am waiting for the ball to drop, I do my winter break homework. Then, I wait for my dad to come home. My dad likes New Year’s because it is fun for him. Finally, my mom wakes me up right before the ball drops, because I always fall asleep while I am waiting! New Year’s is fun for my family. My mom’s cake is awesome. New Year’s is fun for everyone. What do you do on your New Year’s? I hope you have fun.
– Narmeen S.

Christmas Traditions with my Family
My family celebrates Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with all of my family. I meet my grandma and papa and my stepmom’s grandma and papa at 2:00 p.m. We always eat a big dinner. I get dressed to go to my mom’s at around 7:00 p.m. We get to my grandma's house an hour later and I eat a little more. Then, we go we go to bed 10:00 p.m. and I get up at 9:00 a.m. I wake up everyone and check the sugar cookies that are shaped like Santa and the egg nog, to see if Santa ate any. I usually check for his beard hair on the cup, but there's never any on it! Then, I open presents when my family gets there at 12:45. I go to my dad's house and wait for my dad and stepmom's family to get there so we can open presents. Then I go get my friends so we can play with our toys till 11:00 p.m. then I hang out with my family till 12:00 a.m. What is your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day like?                
– Brodie F.

Our Christmas
We have some traditions we do every year in my family. We always watch the movie “A Christmas Story.” My mom makes popcorn and we watch the movie, and then we go to bed. The next day, we wake up really early and eat pancakes. Then, we get to open presents! I play with all the gifts I got and after lunch we open stockings. Later, we eat dinner and talk about how our day was and we go to sleep. The day after Christmas I usually have a friend over and we play with the toys we got for Christmas. The next day, my grandma and grandpa come around dinner time. We eat and then we give them our gifts and they give us our gifts. We do these things around Christmas every year.
– Aidan A.

Christmas at Our House
It’s winter, and my family celebrates Christmas. We have many Christmas traditions. On Christmas Eve, my family stays home and we all open one present. We make hot cocoa and watch “The Polar Express.” My mom reads a Christmas book to my sister and me, and then we go to bed. On Christmas Day, we also stay home. My sister and I wake up and we go into my mom and dad's bedroom. We watch Mickey Mouse or Disney XD. My dad goes into his office and gets his camera equipment and then he sets his camera up on the counter. Then he comes back into the room and he takes us out into the living room. Then, my sister and I normally say “WOW!” and we start ripping open presents. Christmas afternoon, my cousins come over and they sometimes bring presents. When our cousins come, we eat lunch, and just hang out for a while. Christmas night, my dad watches football while my mom, my sister, and I watch Christmas movies and then we go out to dinner.
– Brogan B.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.19.2017