What are your Christmas traditions?
To me Christmas is a wonderful, caring and giving time of year. What is Christmas to you? My family is British, and our tradition is to make a Sunday roast and open Christmas crackers that contain a paper hat, a joke and a small party favor. My family also makes hot chocolate and sits by the fire watching our favorite movie, "Annabelle's Wish."
What are your family's traditions? What are some of your family's bonding moments? Here I will share the family traditions of a few Wheatland Union High School students and what Christmas means to them.
When do you put up your Christmas tree? Whenever I'm at someone's house that has their Christmas tree up, it's so much cozier than without one.
My family usually puts our tree up a week or two before Christmas Day, and we take it down before New Year's Day. My mom insists we do this so we can start the new year off with a clean slate.
Amanda Latham, 17, a former WUHS student, said, "I'm Dutch and American, so we celebrate both Christmases. Our first Christmas is on Dec. 5, which is the Dutch Christmas. We then put our Christmas tree up on Dec. 6, all ready for our American Christmas."
When I have Christmas at my dad's house, it's our tradition to open a present on Christmas Eve night. Tradition is really important to my family. The week before Christmas, my dad's whole family gets together to make a batch of Christmas cookies from scratch. It's always a great experience just sitting around making cookies and singing Christmas songs with everyone.
Christmas at each of my parents' homes is a little different. At my mom's, we get up, have breakfast, clean up and then get to open presents. It's a very organized Christmas at my mom's house. My mother's parents never used to let her open any presents until after lunch on Christmas Day. I couldn't imagine having to wait that long to open presents.
My dad's house, on the other hand, gets a little crazy. The first one up wakes everyone else up. The kids get so excited and run around the house screaming.
The closer it gets to Christmas and the colder the weather gets, I think people become more appreciative of what they have.
Maggie Ulman, 17, a senior at WUHS, said, "During Christmas time, I get a lot closer to my family. We do a lot more together — bonding, like putting up our tree. It makes me appreciate them so much more and everything they do for me."
The more time I spend with family, the more I realize how much they mean to me. I wouldn't know what to do without them.
Christmas is such an amazing holiday because it puts everyone in a better mood and brings people together. But no matter where I spend my Christmas, it always turns out amazing because Christmas isn't about how many presents you get or if you get any at all. It's about spending time with family and realizing how important you all are to each other.
Natalie Ross is a senior at Wheatland Union High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.