Rachel Sloan

Presents. Decorations. Desserts. These are all things people typically classify with Christmas. But do they know the true history of Christmas?

The history of the holiday varies between different religions, but they all boil down to the same thing; the day people celebrate the birth of Jesus. Whether or not this was the actual date of his birth is debated, but the holiday is celebrated on Dec. 25.

“My favorite part of the holiday is Christmas Eve,” sophomore Dylan Bures said. “I love the anticipation of the next morning.”

For freshman Kelly Ford, family is the most important aspect of the holidays.

“I love being able to see my family,” Ford said. “And seeing my nephew’s smile explode from his face every time he gets a present.”

Spending time with family is also important to freshman Kylie Ballis. Ballis’ favorite tradition is making cookies with her mom.

“To me, Christmas doesn’t just mean getting together with my family,” Ballis said. “It’s about all the memories my family makes. And being able to look back on them all year and remember how much love my family shares.”

While Dec. 25 is a religious holiday, it is often overshadowed by shopping and St. Nick.

“As a child I never knew Christmas had a religious value,” sophomore Brandy Giordano said. “I just knew that Santa came and left me presents.”

But religion does play a significant role in many people’s holiday traditions. Students like sophomore Blake Young attend services that recreate the nativity scene.

“We reenact the manger scene,” sophomore Blake Young said. “Everyone in the church gets together to watch it, and we get members of the church to play the wise men, Joseph and Mary.”

Another Christian tradition is lighting Advent candles each week leading up to Christmas. Each candle represents a different aspect of Christmas; the first candle represents hope, the second peace, the third joy, and the fourth love.

“The first thing we do on Christmas morning is light the fifth advent candle that represents Christ,” sophomore Kayla Harrison said. “It means so much that all my family is there to light it in our house, and at church we light the fifth one together too.”

Whether it’s for religion, family or just fun, Christmas is an opportunity to gather and celebrate with loved ones.

“For me, Christmas is the time when my family sets aside our differences,” sophomore Kayla Harrison said. “It means a lot for a family to pull together like that and not fight.”