Wednesday, December 25, 2013

How Do You Celebrate Christmas?

In today's blog post, read about how some members of the Prep community enjoy the holiday season.
Artist: Peter Binck '15

Before break started, I asked members of the Prep community three questions:
  1. What is your favorite Christmas movie/special?
  2. What is your favorite Christmas song/carol/hymn?
  3. What is a Christmas tradition or custom -  from your family, ethnicity, faith, or neighborhood -  that you cherish and would like to share?
The results are typical Prep: steeped in tradition. In a struggle between the old and the new, Frank Capra's signature film It's a Wonderful Life bested the more recent holiday classics National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf for the top spot. And it was not surprising to learn that traditional Christmas hymns like "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night" are more popular than "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and "Blue Christmas".

So we know what Prep people listen to and watch while they count the days to December 25. Here's a look at what some of them do to celebrate:

Scott Murphy - Science 

"We go to Midnight Mass at St. Stanislaus Parish in South Philly on Christmas Eve and the cantor sings carols in Polish and then English."

Tim Dougherty '09 - Alumni Service Corps
Tim Dougherty '09 (second from left)

"My family can only decorate the tree when the entire family is back home - even if that means Christmas Eve."

Meredith Morgan - Classics 

"Italian - Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve."

Bill Avington '90 - Marketing and Communications 

"Christmas Eve was always special in my family growing up. We traveled to my grandparents (on my mother's side) with all of my cousins. We would all be together and share spaghetti with tuna. My grandfather would cook all night and the house would broil from the stove and the people but it was the greatest. That, plus the anticipation of Christmas morning, was always my favorite day of the year."

Tony Braithwaite '89 - Cape & Sword Drama Society

"As kids on Christmas morning, my dad would make us sit on the stairs for a minute until he had checked under the tree. If all was well, he'd come back and say, 'Looks like somebody's been here.' That was our cue to run in."

Marielle Watson - Modern Language

"In Germany we put our Christmas tree up only on Christmas Eve, and we also exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. Now being in the U.S. we have tried to merge our traditions. Santa now comes at night of December 24 and we exchange gifts on Christmas Day. The tree is not put up on Christmas Eve, however, we usually do it pretty close to Christmas, around December 20."

Sam Dietch - Ignatian Service

"My family has a tradition of putting cheesy Christmas decorations on each other's lawn."

Joe Donahue '63 - Religious Studies

"My wife and I visit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as many of the 11 grandchildren as is physically possible. We go to Mass at St. Malachy's Church in North Philly where music and fellowship are tantamount."

"My whole family gets together every year during the Christmas season to pass on among us a prize present: A huge beach towel with a life size image of Elvis. We have contests to see who gets to keep the towel from one celebration to the next. "Video and photo evidence proves that the towel has made trips all over the country."

Whatever favorite song might by playing while you string cranberries and popcorn, or whichever classic movie station your Dad landed on before losing the remote, and wherever you are this season, have a Merry Christmas.

This blog post was written by Mr. Ed Turner '00, Director of Admission.

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