How Christmas Has Changed


Kzenon - Fotolia

Courtesy of Google Images

Before they had kids and spouses, your Lake Ridge teachers celebrated Christmas with traditions similar to those still used today. Now that they are no longer the kids, their Christmas Holidays are spent differently but are still cherished.

This time of year is usually spent with friends or family. Looking back fondly on old Christmas memories, Shalyn Colbert, AVID teacher, remembers her Christmas mornings with her brothers.

“I remember when I was a kid waking up and not wanting to go to sleep without my two older brothers. I would force them to let me sleep in their room and they would let me sleep on the floor. Then we would wake up at 5:30 or 6 and be like, ‘MOM, DAD WAKE UP IT’S CHRISTMAS!’, and we would rip open all of our presents. I remember we would always get a new outfit, so we would put on our new clothes and take a family picture,” said Colbert.

Most families that celebrate Christmas have traditions that they try to keep up with over the years. Colbert didn’t have any typical traditions but wanted her kids to grow up with some. She made traditions for her children on Christmas Eve.

“With my kids, I try to make traditions since I didn’t really have any growing up. Christmas Eve they open up one gift and it’s typically something we can all do as a family like: a puzzle we would put together, a movie we’d watch, or make gingerbread houses. Christmas morning is the same thing, we let them rip open their presents and watch as my house gets destroyed,” said Colbert.

Everyone who puts up Christmas decorations, puts them up at different times. Some put them up at Halloween, during Thanksgiving break, or wait until December begins. Dena Marlar, Social Studies teacher, was taught and raised to wait to put up decorations the week before Christmas.

Courtesy of Google Images

“I’ve always had a very strong and traditional family, I was raised Catholic. Our tradition was to wait to start Christmas because of the advent season, we would put up our Christmas tree the week before Christmas and we left it up till the epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas. We would always go pick out a tree, a real tree and it would always be a little ‘Charlie Brownish’. We always had a lot of family time, we always went to my grandmother’s house of Christmas Eve and went to Midnight Mass. Then we would have Santa Claus on Christmas morning,” said Marlar.

There are many ways to celebrate on Christmas Eve. Lots of churches have Christmas Eve services for those who want to attend. Amanda Mitchell, Government teacher, spent Christmas Eve attending Christmas Eve services.

“I remember always attending church on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning we would get up really early before my parents, like 4:30, then my parents would make us go back to sleep because ‘Santa Claus wasn’t there’. Then we would open up our presents and later go to my grandparents house with all of my cousins. Then we would go out with the cousins, play and have fun,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell still continues to attend church on Christmas Eve, she now has a new family to celebrate Christmas with. She has made traditions that participate in on Christmas day.

“Christmas now for me and my family, my two girls and my husband, attend Christmas Eve services and then go do something fun afterwards. Then Christmas morning, we wake up and open our presents in our pajamas. We then go to IHOP, in our pajamas, and we have breakfast. Then we come home and watch Christmas movies all day,” said Mitchell.

Memories from Christmas can bring tears or laughter. These times spent with family are very valuable during the Christmas season. Alitia McClure, English teacher, reminisces silly Christmas memories from her childhood.

“Growing up, Christmas we always did everything on Christmas day. I remember getting up and seeing what was there, my dad is a hunter so he would always buy new hunting socks and that was our stockings. As soon as we pulled everything out of them he would be like, ‘Alright girls give me my socks’ and that’s one of the things I remember the most because it was kind of crazy,” said McClure.

As a kid, Christmas is an exhilarating time. The thought of Santa, toys, and food bring most children joy this time of year. Javelo Jones, Math teacher, remembers what Christmas was like for him as a kid and later when he discovered the secret about Santa.

“Up until middle school, Christmas was an exciting time. I couldn’t sleep the night before because I wanted to see what was in all of the boxes. Then year after year you started receiving more clothes which was not too exciting, then you find out Santa isn’t real. It’s still exciting and I love spending time with family and seeing people I haven’t seen all year. But I definitely miss getting toys,” said Jones.

Although Jones is an adult now, he still enjoys Christmas. He appreciates his family and the time spent with them.

“Christmas for me now is awesome, seeing my own kids get excited when they get things that they want. I get to spend time with my family, including my mom. I go out to see my family that doesn’t live in Texas and just enjoy their company,” said Jones.

Family Christmas traditions are different for every family. Katrina Covington, Chemistry teacher, didn’t spend Christmas Eve in her own bed.

“Christmas was my favorite time of year and still is. I got to see my whole family, we’d get to go to my grandmother’s house and we’d spend the night. My cousins, aunts, uncles, just a huge family that would all get together and celebrate. It was very fun,” said Covington.

Over the years, getting together for Christmas becomes more of a challenge for some families. Covington doesn’t let that stop her from celebrating Christmas with her intermediate family.

“Christmas is more low-key for me now, we don’t have as much family anymore that gets together. After my grandparents passed away and my husband’s grandparents passed away, nobody really gets together anymore. It’s the same as far as the kids, we hang out and have fun, but it’s not quite on the big scale like it used to be,” said Covington.

Christmas has changed for these teachers over the years, but in some cases for the better. As opposed to a younger outlook on Christmas, these teachers see Christmas through a new spectrum. Jones feels his age has provided him wisdom during this season.

“When you are a kid all you think about is what you are going to get, but when you are an adult you think about what you can give. I definitely have more of a giving perspective,” said Jones.