Washburn community shares favorite Christmas traditions


Leah Jamison

Everyone does something different for Christmas. What’s your favorite tradition?

Maria Shultz – Firefighter/AEMT
On Christmas Eve, our mom would always let everyone open something. We would all have Christmas pajamas to wear for Christmas morning. We would read books or watch a movie to get the excitement started. On Christmas morning, we would all be brought into the room with the tree with our eyes closed and all of us kids would open our eyes at the same time. Stockings were a big deal for the family and we started the morning by going through them first. Mom always hides little surprises in the branches in the tree and it is fun to try and find them. After the stockings and finding surprises in the tree, we then started opening our gifts one at a time. Sometimes mom would read us an advent book and we would light candles each night. Sometimes mom would read to the family by the glow of the candlelight. One thing I would like to do is try to get a recording of mom reading so if I have to do Christmas without her, I would be able to play it and listen to her. As for food on Christmas, we do not like the traditional stuff so we just eat whatever we want to. We rent the community center for several days and do sleepovers, play games, do puzzles, watch movies and have a lot of fun.

Kayla McNary – Deputy Sheriff
My family does not open our gifts or celebrate Christmas on the actual day because I am usually working. We open our gifts on a day that the whole family can get together and enjoy a relaxing time. I foster children and it is always fun to watch everyone have a good time, enjoy great family time and not have to worry about anything during this time.

Gayla Sarkesian – Ichabod Service Center Office Supervisor
The main tradition we do as a family is we watch the Christmas movie “Home Alone.” My children are grown up, but we all still enjoy doing it. My children continue to decorate their own homes with the ornaments that they were given by their grandmother and they now put them on their trees at their house. For food, we have the traditional meal of ham and the normal sides of potatoes and such. For dessert, we would have chocolate pies.

Nicky Peoples – Emergency Communications Supervisor
We do Christmas Eve morning at our house and have no plans, but then at night, the whole family gets together and we celebrate, have food and enjoy family time. The biggest thing I wish would happen is that my mother would actually stick to the plan instead of showing up late so she does not have to rearrange her plans. Other than that we have a good time.

Becky Mitchell – Cashier at the Union Market
On Christmas Eve we all get together and open our gifts. We go in a certain order of who opens first and it is the youngest to oldest in order. It is fun to watch everyone getting anxious as they wait their turn. For food, the only thing we do is eat snacks because the kids only want to open presents and nothing else.

Samantha Clark – Senior in psychology
My dad plays “A Christmas Story” on Christmas Day— the whole thing. My step-mom makes a roast, and my mom makes turkey. I’m at my mom’s on Christmas Eve, and my dad’s on Christmas Day. We put our tree up in the first week of December. My family watches Christmas movies like “Home Alone.” I’d like to carry on doing that.

Chris Bowers – Washburn University Military Liaison
We always go up to my parent’s and there’s Tatakawa Park.  We go to Lake Shawnee and give a donation and see all the scenic lights. I’m not a dessert guy, but my mom always makes pistachio pudding. You’d never think of something made out of pistachios is a sweet dessert.

Hannah Kirby – Senior in communications
Every year on Christmas Eve, my family and I watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” My sister got the little moose cups last year for eggnog. My sister is married so we usually have a combined Christmas with her husband’s family and my family. They’re Greeks, so they have lots of meat, but we also have potatoes. I have recently wanted to get an advent calendar, so I’m hoping to get one for myself next year.

Daniel Lopez-Hernandez – Junior in health and service administration and occupational therapy
One of my favorite traditions is making traditional food coming from a Latin culture. My family is Mexican, so for us, we make a traditional meal called tamales which takes a whole day of prep. It’s really amazing and really special to us because we do it for Christmas so it gets the day rolling and that’s when we make Mexican hot chocolate while we talk and tell stories. We make this amazing dish throughout the whole day so at night we can eat it and that’s our meal for Christmas day.

Connor Trupp – Freshman undecided major
I spend time with my family. There’s nothing entirely special I do. We would sometimes watch Christmas movies just to have fun. We would sometimes watch “A Christmas Story” or “A Wonderful Life” or “Home Alone.” We generally have corned beef and ham for Christmas, but it changes every year.

Ethan Nelson – Senior in English and psychology
My favorite tradition is my family will drive out to the Potwin neighborhood in Topeka. It’s a historic neighborhood with a lot of cool Victorian architecture and they do really cool Christmas lights. The whole neighborhood gets involved and it’s like three blocks worth of lights that you can admire. We do it around mid-December so it’s coming up for us. My dad makes this really nice orange jello with carrots and pineapple. It sounds weird, but it is delicious. We also make a really nice eggnog cake. In the future, I would really like to have Yorkshire pudding. I hear that’s what the Brits have for Christmas.

Angela Woods – Super senior in theatre and English
Since it’s just me and my mom we don’t do much since she works every year. We do have a tradition where we put up our Christmas tree and we’ll use these ornaments that she got from Japan when she was stationed over there. We also have an ornament with a picture of me and one of my kittens that we put up. My mom and I will bake cookies and we’ll watch Hallmark movies. We open every present on Christmas Eve, except for one my mom says is from Santa and our stockings. In the future, hopefully, I’ll have a big family and I’ll cook Christmas meals. My mom has fine China dishes from Japan that she’s going to give me so we would use that.


Edited by: Kyle Manthe