Holiday traditions are more important than ever

Michael Sicoli and Connor Youngberg

By Michael Sicoli

Everyone yearns for them, but the truth is that one can’t return to the past. All that is left are memories, clouds of nostalgia that float through consciousness. The best way to remember those moments are to establish traditions, something the holiday season is no stranger to.

Traditions are important mainstays that create or maintain the best memories. Picking out a Christmas tree and decorating it to the tune of Christmas songs is one of my favorite customs. It encompasses family, fun and festivities all into one. Occasionally, there will be eggnog and rarely an outside guest, but the core premise always remains the same.

These traditions created some of the best memories of my childhood, and it inspires me to keep it going when I have kids. I have a great appreciation for a ritualistic approach to life, which is something I’ve brought with me to Quinnipiac University.

I’ll take my Tuesdays, for example. Every morning I wake up early as it’s time to create the new issue of The Chronicle. Knowing my roommate is a light sleeper, I leave my clothes — always the same beige khaki shorts and grey quarter zip — on the table in my common room. I turn on my

Keurig and brew a cup of coffee, which is all set up the night before. I grab my keys, wallet and charger from left to right off of the table and head out for the Mount Carmel campus from York Hill no later than 7:15 a.m. At the end of my long day, at around 7:30 p.m., I call and treat myself to a General Tso’s chicken combo.

I, like many, crave structure. Traditions and rituals have become commonplace in my life, exemplified by a holiday season that offers the best of them.

For myself, that means going to church on Christmas Eve, a tradition disrupted by COVID-19. It also means opening presents in the new pajamas that my grandparents gifted my brothers and I the night before while my mom takes pictures. It’s the little things that seem more precious year after year.

It’s no less true after a pandemic-tainted year — rather, traditions carry more weight than ever.

Traditions like celebrating Mass were disrupted. Christmas dinners might have empty chairs. It might feel like those traditions families once coveted have been permanently sent off the rails, but the value they bring should not be forgotten.

Appreciate your traditions, and don’t be scared to start new ones. They serve as an important milestone throughout the year that serves as gifts that keep on giving.

Illustration by (Connor Lawless)

By Connor Youngberg

The Christmas season is in full swing, and the holidays should be cherished a little extra this year.

In 2020, lots of people lost their Christmas spirit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families, including my own, were forced to forgo their usual Christmas traditions and celebrate the holidays remotely.

Families getting together for Christmas festivities ran the risk of catching COVID-19. According to USA Today, new cases surpassed 300,000 on Jan. 8, just over two weeks after Christmas.

Every year, my family and I have many traditions throughout the holiday season, especially during the week of Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, we host a massive party for friends and family on my mom’s side. My dad makes cookies, pies and more snacks for my family to enjoy before we exchange gifts. When we were kids, we used to track Santa through a website before we had to go to sleep.

A couple of days after Christmas, my dad’s side of the family gets together and exchanges gifts while enjoying my grandma’s classic fruit punch.

Christmas is usually packed with holiday traditions that are the highlights of my year, but in 2020, it was a letdown instead.

The only thing I did was binge watch Christmas movies, and although I love them, it was the only thing I could do to celebrate before the holiday. Before I knew it the

holidays were over. Christmas passed, then New Year’s Eve and everything just felt off. The January blues kicked in earlier than usual, and it made me realize how much I enjoy being around my friends and family during this time of year.

Fortunately, the majority of families can enjoy their Christmas festivities together this year for the first time since 2019. Although we are still in a pandemic, vaccines have made it easier for families to enjoy the holidays.

Christmas traditions should be appreciated this year because if there is one thing the pandemic taught me, it’s that life can change in an instant and it’s out of your control. We should make the most of every moment this holiday season.

This year, all of my normal traditions that my family have done since I was a kid are kickstarting again, and I plan on cherishing them this year, as I suggest we all do.

I know Christmas can be a stressful time for a lot of people. Between setting
up decorations and running around all over the place to buy gifts, I understand how the holidays can leave a lot of people burnt out. However, this year, people should try their best to stay happy during the holidays.

So try your best not to be a Scrooge this holiday season. Throw on some Christmas classics like “Polar Express” and “Elf,” and get ready to make some memories with your friends and families this holiday season.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from the past two years, it’s to not take things like Christmas for granted.