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Holiday Traditions

Rosemary Gregg, Writer

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The holiday season is more than just “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.” Whether it is cooking in the kitchen, hunting or taking family photos, every family has their own holiday traditions. Passing on these traditions binds families together.

Math teacher Kathy Stevens hosts Thanksgiving dinner at her house every year. For the Stevens, the most important part of Thanksgiving is the pie. Every holiday season, everyone gets together to bake several pies for “Pie Day.”

“One year, I taught my children how to make pie instead of giving them a present,” Stevens said. “This year, [my children] are carrying on the tradition of teaching their kids how to make pies.”

For junior Ruger Roach, Thanksgiving break consists of hunting by himself in his backyard at 4:30 a.m. until everyone wakes up. Roach got his first gun at eight-years-old but did not start hunting until two years ago. After only three days of hunting, Roach killed his first deer.

“Last year, I was in my uncle’s deer stand, and it was pouring down rain. All of a sudden, I heard a twig break, and I looked over, raised up my gun and pulled the trigger,” Roach said. “I was so excited, because it was the first deer that I shot.”

Senior Grayson Prince also hunts during Thanksgiving break in Arkadelphia with his friends and family. Princes family has owned 256 acres of land just off of the Ouachita River for over 100 years.

“I enjoy [hunting] so much that I wish I could do it all the time,” Prince said. “On weekends, you just have two days, but when you do have more time than that, it makes it more enjoyable.”

Prince started hunting as a “scared”three-year-old. After 10 years of hunting, he developed a passion for hunting ducks instead of just deer.

“[Hunting] causes you to get a lot closer to people than you really think,” Prince said. “It’s not about going out and killing something. It’s about spending time with your family and friends, becoming closer to people, telling stories and really just having a good time while enjoying the presence of other people.”

Junior Abbigail Johnson makes treats and desserts with her mother every year a few days before Christmas. Johnson celebrates two Christmases every year: one with her mom’s side on Black Friday and the other on Christmas day with her dad’s side.

“[My favorite part about having two Christmases] is seeing my whole family,” Johnson said. “[Holidays] are pretty much the only time that I get to see them.”

For Thanksgiving, freshman Charlotte Bryant watches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with her family while cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

Bryant’s family prefers to spend one-on-one time with each other instead of visiting relatives or traveling during the holidays.

“Its enjoyable to have Thanksgiving dinner together, because it’s more family-based without distractions,” Bryant said. “We don‘t really invite anyone over,;it’s just the six of us.”

Bryant’s family has a tradition of taking photos every Christmas and then exchanging Christmas cards containing their holiday family photos with her cousins every year.

Each holiday season, Bryant’s family gets individual pictures taken with Santa, and takes a different picture in front of their fireplace each year. Last year, they took a picture wearing matching plaid pajamas and socks.

“I like [taking pictures] because it stores those memories,” Bryant said. “My sister, who’s 26, still takes pictures with Santa, my brother, who’s almost 19, still takes pictures with Santa, and even me, I still do too.”

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