Westlake students share their favorite traditions

For the Observer's annual last-issue-of-the-year feature, students from Mrs. Melissa Graham’s fourth-grade class at Westlake Elementary School share favorite family traditions.

My Special Little Elf
Boom! Woah did I hear a little sneaky elf? It is finally my favorite time of year! Christmas is the best time of year to find your own little, magical, sneaky, and amazing Elf on the Shelf. My elf is named Mr. Jingles. He writes me letters to show how happy he is and how proud he is of being a crazy elf. He is a very interesting elf who does silly things. For example, he once put flour EVERYWHERE! Mr. Jingles is one messy elf but he still makes my family joyful the whole Christmas season. This year my elf is going to love the snow, the smell of the delightful cookies and finally the beautiful Christmas decorations. If you ever want to get your own Elf on the Shelf just get it at the store. The elf set includes a book to tell you how to use and have fun with your elf. I am thankful for these Christmas elves!
– Ariella K., Westlake

Skating in Paradise
Do you do anything special On Christmas Eve morning? Every year my family and I have a skating party! We rent the Rocky River ice arena and have lots of fun together! We always enjoy lots of yummy donuts and of course coffee for the adults. We have a little room to set all of the food in. We play Christmas music throughout the arena. We invite my figure skating friends, my brother’s hockey friends and even some friends from school. We all do a lot of races on the ice and play some games such as tag. We even sometimes make little shows that go along with the Christmas music. Even though it's not going to happen this year because of Covid-19, we are still going to try to make the winter break great! I hope you enjoy your winter and spread Christmas cheer for the holidays.
– Elise A., Westlake

Fun, Frost, and Family!
Do you want to know about Christmas morning in a festive house? On December 25th, my brother and I wake up in the same room wearing our matching pajamas. We enjoy watching “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” together. Soon after, my parents come up to get us and we both go downstairs to the Christmas tree! When we go down, yummy hot chocolate is waiting for us and Christmas music fills the air. After we drink the delicious hot chocolate, we open our fun presents. My brother and I only get one present from Santa each year but we get others from family. After opening presents, my brother and I give our parents the presents we got them. We play with the presents we got and hang out with our family. My family and I are always home for Christmas, so our tradition is always the same. This is what I do on Christmas morning each and every year!
– Callie Jae E., Westlake

The Christmas Party/Sleepover
Ding dong! We’re here! On Christmas day, my family goes to my Uncle Marty’s house in Westpark at 6:00 p.m. for a party. All of the kids know that we are going to have a sleepover, but everyone keeps it a secret until later in the evening. At the party, we play and open presents. My Uncle Gus dresses up as Santa Claus and he is not very good at acting! At the end of the evening, everyone gets ready to go home. We tell our Uncle to suggest a sleepover, THEY SAID YES! Everybody leaves, except the kids. We usually play hide and seek and then watch a movie together. One year we stayed up all night and everyone was super tired the next day.. In the morning we eat different types of pancakes. My favorite kind is chocolate or confetti pancakes. We have pulled this off for four years in a row and I can't wait to pull it off again in a few weeks. Shh, don't tell Mom and Dad.
– Joe B., Westlake

Christmas Traditions
My family and I celebrate Christmas with a lot of family traditions. On Christmas Eve, we get dressed up and go to church together. After church, we go over to my aunt’s house. When we get there, everyone opens presents. Sometimes we go in her hot tub! Another tradition we have is picking out our own Advent calendar to countdown the days until Christmas. I chose a chocolate one last year. On Christmas morning, our family opens all of our presents as soon as we wake up. Finally, we all go to my grandma’s house for Christmas dinner where we open up more presents with my cousins. In conclusion, those are my five favorite Christmas traditions.
– Matthew B., Westlake

Giving Away Toys
What is your favorite tradition this time of year? Mine is cleaning out our toys and giving them away to Goodwill! Every year my brothers, sisters and I go through our old toys. Skirt Skirt! That’s the sound of a garbage truck outside. The garbage truck does not take our toys though because we donate them. We take our toys to Goodwill so other children can have toys to play with. After donating our toys, we make room for the new toys that we may get. I really enjoy helping others during the holidays.
– Claire C., Westlake

New Year’s Eve
Pop Pop! That’s the sound of popcorn that my family enjoys while we watch movies together on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is my favorite time of year because I get to spend time with my family! I also get to open an early birthday present because my birthday is just two days away from New Year’s Eve. My Mom and I go shopping for New Year’s Eve dinner together. We always make homemade pizza and it is delicious. We also enjoy hot cocoa with gelatin free marshmallow, whipped cream and fudge. I really enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve with my family.
– Nour N., Westlake

Christmas Morning at Home!
Caboom! It is my family’s favorite time of the year, Christmas morning. My three siblings and I sprint out of our rooms and wait excitedly at the top of the stairs. My parents get ready and my mom turns on her camera. My parents say “3, 2, 1, go” and we sprint down the stairs to the tree. We start shaking the presents. My parents tell us to wait! We all put down our presents and go one by one because it’s my parents' rule. We open the presents excitedly. My mom walks to the kitchen and puts on Christmas music and we all start dancing. After we are done opening presents we eat breakfast. Christmas Morning at home is my favorite tradition! What is your favorite tradition?
– Taylor K., Westlake

My Wondrous Winter Tradition
One snowy and bright day, the snow was sparkling in the sunlight, and a grandma with two grandchildren, Emma and Jillian, were ready to play out in the snow. She told her granddaughters “C’mon! Let's go outside and make snow angels and have a snowball fight!” Emma, Jillian, and Grandma K got on their snow gear. First, they got their snow pants on, then they threw on their boots. After that they put their coats, gloves, scarves, and hats on. They finally went outside! Jillian asked, “What do you want to do first?” “Snow angels!” Grandma K added. They all made snow angels, and then voted whose was the best. Grandma K’s snow angel won. They were really cold outside. Emma forgot her hat, so they decided to go back inside. Grandma K said, “We better make hot chocolate! It’s the tradition.” Grandma K made the hot chocolate because Emma and Jillian weren’t allowed to use the coffee maker. They made sure to add extra marshmallows! Once they finished their hot chocolate, they sat on the couch, and watched a movie. That is my favorite winter tradition.
– Jillian S., Westlake

Fish Pond
My favorite tradition this time of year is a very fun tradition called Fish Pond! First, my family and I go to my grandparents’ house in Illinois. I play with my cousin and my brother until the rest of our family arrives. Once everyone has arrived, we enjoy Christmas dinner together. We run to get the delicious food and eat. After everyone is done with their food, it's time for Fish Pond! We wait in line until it's our turn. When it is your turn, you hold the pole and when you feel like the pole is getting heavy you pull it up. There will be a bag of presents and you will catch a present! Finally, when the tradition is over everyone goes home with the toys they pulled up.  It’s so fun! I hope your family enjoys traditions this time of year.
– Braden W., Westlake

Christmas Eve Fun
Every year my family and I drive to my Grandma's house in Cuyahoga Falls on Christmas Eve. Once we get there we enjoy a delicious dinner of ham, potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. After dinner, we begin our gift exchange with my cousins.We draw numbers and whoever has the lowest number goes first. When it’s your turn, you can either take a gift from the pile or swap for another gift. After the second round, you can steal or keep your gift. Once everyone has a gift, we open our gifts and play with them. My favorite gift that I have gotten over the years was a really big Nerf gun. Finally, everyone goes home to have Christmas morning at their own homes. I always have a wonderful time on Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s house.
– Cooper R., Westlake

Winter Fun
During winter break, my family has a big party at my Grandma’s house in Westlake! Maybe you do this too? All my family meets at my Grandma’s house. We have a large family of 34 cousins, 5 aunts, my parents, my siblings and 1 uncle. The kids play outside and the adults stay inside where it is warm. The adults talk and enjoy spending time together. We eat Thanksgiving foods like turkey and potatoes for dinner! This is my favorite tradition because I get to spend time with my family!
– Ali G., Westlake

Christmas with Family
Christmas time is my most favorite time of the year because it is filled with family and laughter. During the holiday we eat together and talk all day. We enjoy hot chocolate and play with our pet dogs, Black and Rocky. We listen to stories and dance to Christmas music. We buy presents for each other and hide them throughout the house. On Christmas morning we look for the presents around the house. We stay up late on Christmas night and enjoy watching movies together. I really enjoy spending time with my family on Christmas!
– Layelle S., Westlake

New Year’s Night
My favorite tradition each year is New Year’s Night! Every New Year’s Eve, my mom, dad, my grandparents and I always stay up until midnight or even later. We always find a Christmas movie and play board games like Monopoly, Trouble, Jenga, or The Game of Life. Before we start the movie or play some games, my mom and I take out some chips and salsa, some sweets such as Ferrero Rocher and appetizers. Before New Year's Eve, my family does some Secret Santa shopping. Last year I got my dad for the gift exchange. I gave him some socks. After we play some board games, we open our Secret Santa gifts. My mom got me for Secret Santa, and she bought me some boots. After all of the things we do that night, I always fall asleep before I even go to bed. I don’t wake up the next morning until noon! My family and I always have so much fun on our favorite day, New Year’s Eve!
– Layla S., Westlake

My Family’s Christmas Tree
Every year to prepare for Christmas my family and I put up a Christmas tree. We get our tree out of the closet then we set it up in the living room. My mom strings bright, white lights on the tree and my brothers and I enjoy watching them twinkle. We put fake snow around the bottom of the tree and we also even put some snow on the tree!  It makes it look like the snow has freshly fallen on the tree. We decorate the tree with ornaments and include some fake snowballs. I really enjoy putting up our Christmas tree every year!
– Quenttin M., Westlake
New Year’s Cheer
New Year’s Eve is my favorite winter holiday because I love celebrating with my family! My brother’s family comes over to my house and we watch the ball drop at midnight! I enjoy playing with my niece and nephew. We play board games together. Last year we played Pie Face and Uno. For dinner, we enjoy delicious pizza and wings. My sister always makes a fun and special dessert. Last year, she made Oreo balls and I decorated them with frosting and edible decorations! After dinner, we drive around Crocker Park to enjoy all the festive lights and decorations. My favorite part of New Year’s Eve is spending time with my family.
– Jenna Z., Westlake

The Amazing New Year’s Eve
Ding Dong! I wake up and my cousins are here because it's New Year’s Eve! It is my favorite time of the year. On New Year’s Eve all my cousins come over and we  wear matching clothes. The boy cousins match each other, and the girls match. My aunts and my mom make the most delicious meal I have ever tasted in my whole life. We take family pictures in front of a wall that says the year. We also watch the huge ball drop on television. The best thing about New Year’s Eve is that we get to stay up until 1 a.m. My cousins and I play with the balloons. There are at least 30 people at my house. Sometimes my cousins will also sleepover. New Year’s Eve is awesome!
– Musa A., Westlake

I Bake Christmas Cookies
Do you bake Christmas cookies in December? My grandma and I enjoy baking cookies on December 1st. We buy cookie dough and cookie decorations at the store. First, we roll the dough so it is flat. Then, we use cookie cutters to make cut-out cookies. We make star and gingerbread shaped cookies. We bake the cookies in the oven and then place them on a plate to cool. Once they are cool, we decorate them with icing and sprinkles. My family enjoys eating the Christmas cookies together because they are delicious!                                 
– Xavier B., Westlake

Ohio State vs. Michigan
Touchdown! That is the sound of my favorite team, the Ohio State Buckeyes! My cousins and I always play a football game before we watch The Ohio State and Michigan game. After we play football, we put Ohio State jerseys on our dogs! We eat food like hot dogs and hamburgers together. We finally sit and watch the big game! My dad says I love football because I was born the day before the Ohio State and Michigan game. It gets very loud in our house if there is a good play. This game is always a big rival and I can’t wait for Ohio State to show how good they are this year!
– Parker W., Westlake

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:58 AM, 12.15.2020