Gannon students share holiday traditions

Over the upcoming break, many Gannon University students will return home to spend the holiday season with their families. With such a diverse student body, the season will be celebrated in a variety of ways from traveling to tropical destinations to baking mass amounts of cookies.

Many Gannon students shared quirky traditions special to their families. Lauren Steidel, a junior occupational therapy major, said that her family always plays a game called “hide the pickle” – in which a pickle-shaped ornament is hidden on the tree – during Christmastime.

“Basically, we have a pickle ornament, and each year a different family member is responsible for hiding the ornament within the tree and whoever finds it first gets a small gift,” Steidel said. “It might seem pretty silly, but it’s something fun that my entire family looks forward to each year.”

Lyndsay Walker, a sophomore physician assistant major, shared that her family partakes in the more “traditional” Christmas activities such as decorating a tree and baking cookies.

“We do read ‘Polar Express’ aloud as a family on Christmas Eve each year,” said Walker. “With being away from home and busy day-to-day activities, it’s nice to take time out and read such a classic story together.”

Gift exchanges are sometimes a central part of the holiday season. Ryan Longhi, a senior accounting major, said that his aunts and uncles draw names at random of all of the children in the family and buy a present customized to that individual.

“It’s kind of like a secret Santa type of thing, but we keep it low key,” Longhi said. “Basically, it’s a way to cut down on the volume of gifts without taking away from the fun of giving.”

Clarissa Garay, a junior nursing major, said her fondest memories of the holiday season involve making personalized gifts for all of her close friends and family members.

“I think that simply buying something doesn’t truly make a gift special,” Garay said. “For my friends especially, I try to either make an ornament or a trinket of some kind with a picture or something that shows I was thinking of their personalities.”

Still other students rejoice in the “little things.” Rachel Litwin, a junior business administration major, enjoys decorating the Christmas tree with her two sisters and parents.

“Every year, my family and I watch ‘White Christmas’ while we decorate our tree,” Litwin said. “It’s a favorite of my entire family.”

While some students will be spending the season at home, Dominica Pasci, a sophomore nursing major, will be lounging in Maui, Hawaii. Each year her family takes a summer vacation, but with her and her siblings enrolled in college, they decided to travel in the winter, she said.

“It’s a random choice, but my parents love Hawaii, so that’s why we decided to go there,” Pasci said. “While we are there I will go whale watching, volcano walking and I will see the sun rise on the top of a mountain on Christmas day.”

Pasci shared that it will be strange to be away from home for Christmas, but taking a vacation to Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

DIANE CASSARLY

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