McNicholas faculty share Christmas traditions

Whether it be making Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve or driving to see the Christmas lights throughout town, everyone has holiday traditions that belong to their Christmas season.  The teachers in the McNicholas community shared the many different fun and creative ways they celebrate their holidays with their family.  

French and English teacher Julie Dill said, “I love baking Christmas cookies and listening to Christmas carols. My favorite song is ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ It makes me cry every time!”’

Math teacher Ashley Brothers said that one of her Christmas traditions is“driving around the neighborhoods and checking out the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music.”

Childhood Christmas traditions are something sacred and memorable. Grandparents along with parents are so special and this time allows people all around the world to spend time with them. The memories made as a child influences how people spend their Christmas’ later on in life.

Director of Educational Technology Emily Materna said that her favorite Christmas tradition growing up was “having a sleepover with my sisters on Christmas Eve then waiting at the top of the stairs until we were allowed to come down on Christmas morning.”

Librarian Chelsea Almer said, “When I was a child, I would always visit the manger scenes in Madeira and at the Krohn Conservatory. I now enjoy taking my own children there every December to reflect on what Christmas is really about.” 

Brothers added that one of her favorite childhood memories was “cutting down [our family’s] Christmas tree at Corsi’s tree farm. [In the picture] I’m the kid in the grey jacket and pink hat. Each year, when I was younger, my cousins and I would put on a Christmas pageant and reenact the 1st Christmas.”

As one of her Christmas traditions, math teacher Ashley Brothers and her cousins would reenact the 1st Christmas together as a family.
Another Christmas tradition that was celebrated in Brother’s childhood included cutting down the family Christmas tree at Corsi’s tree farm. Brothers is in the grey coat and pink hat.
Brothers, in the pink hat next to the large Christmas tree, stands ready to cut down their family’s tree for the season.

“Santa did not write on our gifts but instead wrote numbers. So my brothers and I did not know which gifts went to which person. Santa left a list with my mom. So when we chose a gift to open, she checked the list to see who the gift went to. It was fun and added to the excitement of opening our presents on Christmas morning,” Dill added about her family’s Christmas traditions when she was younger.

Traditions evolve over time and change as people grow up and start their own families. Not only do they make new traditions, but they may also carryover old traditions that were made in their childhood.

“My husband and I started a tradition with our children when they were little of having a pizza party under the Christmas tree. We used this as an opportunity to explain the religious symbols associated with the Christmas tree. Now my children are adults, but they still enjoy our pizza party under the Christmas tree every year,” Dill said.

In 2009, the Dill family participated in their annual pizza party under their Christmas tree.

“When my grandparents passed it was really hard because my cousins no longer travelled back to Cincinnati. For a while it was just our immediate family, and then we started a tradition with our neighbors and their children who [had also lost their grandparents]. We would make a nice dinner, and then play games and watch ‘Christmas Vacation.’ It’s a tradition we still try to keep alive,” Brothers said.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, the Christmas holiday might be celebrated differently this year, many of them having to be redesigned or put aside until next year. However, many have come up with creative ways to celebrate this holiday while staying safe.

“I will still bake cookies with my daughters, visit the Nativity scene in Madeira, watch Christmas movies, and have a big Christmas Eve dinner. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to be with my parents and siblings this year to celebrate on Christmas Eve, as we’ve done in the past. However, I have an 8-week old nephew and we are trying to be as safe as we can, so we’ll play it safe and it will just be my husband and three children together this year,” Almer said.

“We won’t gather with our extended family. We are going to Lights in the Forest at the Cincinnati Nature Center, a new outdoor Christmas walk this year,” Materna said.


“I will be able to celebrate Christmas with my husband and children but will be more cautious about being together with my parents and extended family,” Dill said.


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