Holiday Traditions

Published on 19 December 2018

As students depart for winter break and the year comes to a close, many members of the campus community will spend their winter break celebrating the holidays with traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Alechia Abioye
Assistant Director, Diversity and Inclusion
Christmas and Kwanza

“Kwanza is celebrated for seven days and allows us to connect back to our African heritage. This year, will be the first year I’m celebrating Kwanza on my own so I have been working on finding cool things for my family and I to do that relate back to the seven principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. We also travel to Kansas City, Missouri, every other year to celebrate Christmas with my family. My family always enjoys singing and playing instruments together around the holidays.”

Michelle Hastings
Director, Campus Counseling Center

“One of the holidays we celebrate in our house is Hanukkah. My girls and I make latkes (potato pancakes) and light the menorah candles for eight nights. The candles remind us to be a ‘light to the world.’ The middle candle is called the shamash which means ‘helper,’ so we talk about how we can be helpful in the world and to our families.”

Beth Keserauskis
Vice President, Enrollment Services and Marketing

“This year, my 92-year-old grandma is going to teach my mom, two aunts, a few cousins and me how to make her German poppy seed stollens. She makes at least 10 of them each year for Christmas, and we all want to make sure the recipe and method gets passed down to the next generations.”


Richard McCall
Chair, Department of Basic Sciences
Professor, Physics

“My family and I participate in a Christmas Eve service at our church. On Christmas Day, I read the book titled ‘Cajun Night Before Christmas’ as a tribute to my extended family in Louisiana. I received this book as a Christmas gift back in the mid-1970s.”

Ryan Paige
Administrative Assistant, Success Center

“I’m from Chicago, and every year I go home to help my grandparents throw our family Christmas party. Almost 200 people came last year and we provide food and raffle prizes. Some years, we even do a secret gift exchange. After the event, we post pictures on our shared family Facebook page.”

To share some of your favorite holiday traditions use #STLCOP on Twitter and Instagram.

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