Winter Traditions in the RM Community


Graphic by Julianne Cruz

Baking Christmas cookies with family is one of the most popular traditions to do over the holidays.

The Centerspread Editors and Staff asked RM students what they love doing most during the winter season as well as if they had any traditions they felt comfortable sharing that they do with family and friends for the holidays. Here are the responses:


“Every year during winter break, my family and I travel to Ohio to get together with the other family we have there. We spend our time playing board games and watching Christmas movies. We attend church and open our gifts on Christmas day.” – Hannah Phillips, grade 11

“ I don’t really have family here, so every year I spend Christmas and winter break with my parents and younger sister. We spend time watching old Christmas movies and playing in the snow, if there is any. During break I like to take time to work on origami. We do not attend church but we do get gifts for Christmas.” – Jessica Wu, grade 11

“I love spending time with my family, travelling, seeing the Christmas lights, and the snow. I go to my Aunt’s house on Christmas Eve, and then go to church with my family. Every Christmas day we have a big brunch, and then open presents which always takes a while, because normally (without Covid) there are a lot of us.” – Serena Andreissens, grade 10

Several students enjoy playing in the snow, when Maryland gets any, with pets and siblings. Graphic by Julianne Cruz.

“My favorite thing to do over the winter is run in the snow. My family’s favorite Christmas tradition is seeing a movie on Christmas Eve! We’re all so excited for the next day, so seeing a movie and then going out for lunch is one of our favorite things to do!” – Grace Finnegan, grade 9

“During the winter season I enjoy staying inside and baking. One of my favorite holiday traditions is exchanging secret santa gifts with my friends. I also enjoy visiting extended family (but not this year).” – Seta Whitney, grade 12

“My favorite winter tradition is skiing. My mom, sisters and I always go skiing whenever we can. Every year we go skiing on new years. My holidays traditions include my grandma coming to visit, and going to visit other family members and lighting the Menorah.” – Sarah Lavan, grade 10

“My family and I typically go skiing during the winter. I love everything about winter; I love the snow, I love the cold, and everything looks so pretty covered in snow. Every Christmas Eve my family eats seafood. Over new years we stay awake, and then celebrate at midnight, pretty standard.” – Alexa Giantelli, grade 10

“I love to stay at home and drink hot chocolate by the fireplace during winter and when it actually snows go outside and just hang out with family and try to sled down the driveway. My family and I usually light all the candles together for Chanukah and open gifts together and try to have latkes once. We also go over to our neighbor’s house for New Year’s Eve every year and celebrate with them!” – Fiona Godes, grade 10

“Some family traditions my family has around the seasonal time is setting up Christmas lights together indoors and outdoors, normally in early December. Another Sadeghi tradition is to go on late drives through neighborhoods to look at the bigger homes decorated with nice lights. Lastly, we just enjoy our time together by binging Hallmark movies!” – Martin Sadeghi, grade 10

“During the winter I like decorating for Christmas and celebrating it along with New year and Russian Orthodox Christmas. I also like to bake, drink hot chocolate, and play in the snow. We have a tradition like a lot of other people of setting up a Christmas tree and decorating it and giving/getting presents. For New Year’s, we celebrate it as a family in our home alone with a lot of Russian food dishes and usually a turkey or duck or chicken as the main course. For Russian Orthodox Christmas, we again have lots of traditional Russian food and spend time as a family.” – Anastasia Kutselik, grade 9

“I love Christmas lights, they make me so happy. I love the smell of cold winter air. And New Year’s Eve is such a fun night and kids in my family have stayed up until 3 am celebrating since we were super little. We all celebrate together, all extended family and friends.” – Selma Hamza, grade 11

“I love making/eating the yummy holiday food from Trader Joe’s every winter with my friends. Also, my family and I have the tradition of watching the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song every year on the first day of Hanukkah. And my favorite part of winter is the annual mid-December switch from iced coffee to hot coffee!” – Sara Logsdon, grade 12

“We hang out with each other and that’s cool but we don’t really have any traditions. My family is very atheist and so the concept of Christmas is very like…consumerism. We just buy a lot of stuff. It’s always nice to vibe with friends and family though.” – Marrissa Boucher, grade 9

“We don’t really have many of our own traditions. We kind of go along with it and exchange presents and stuff though. It’s really just spending time with my family and sometimes my grandparents will come over and eat dinner.” – Joy Jiang, grade 9

“I love sitting by the fireplace with hot chocolate when it snows outside! My family always opens presents on Christmas Eve so we have Christmas Day to enjoy our gifts.” – Phoebe Freeman, grade 10

“We make gingerbread houses and sometimes go sledding. Though winter is my least favorite season, I enjoy the anticipation for Christmas and my soon-to-be birthday a couple months later.” – Jonah Petty, grade 11

“I really love any excuse to wrap myself in a warm blanket and winter is perfect for that, and if it ever snows enough I love beaming my friends with snowballs. Every Christmas morning I wake up early and make cinnamon buns from scratch for myself and my family and Christmas dinner with some friends. Every other year or so we will go up to New York to visit some other family around New Year’s.” – Zach Sliter, grade 12

I really love getting ready for Christmas: watching Christmas movies, baking Christmas cookies, reading Christmas stories, listening to Christmas music. For the holidays I like going to see my relatives and traveling. I like snow and spending more time with my family. We have a Christmas tree and decorate that with a bunch of ornaments and lights; we open presents and have ham and Pillsbury crescent rolls for lunch.” – Erin Mullens, grade 11

I like the general feeling – it’s exciting to look forward to [the winter season]. It’s nice to bake stuff, have that Christmas mindset. Pre-covid we would go see lights and my choir, we would perform a winter concert. The winter season in general can be pretty exciting especially since it’s so cold. Snow is a novelty here, so it’s fun to see it. I’m doing group calls with my friends and games with friends who live across the U.S.” – Angela Guhl, grade 11

I love playing with my dog in the snow. It’s my favorite thing, probably, in the winter to see him in the snow just because he’s a double coat and loves the winter, but he doesn’t quite understand snow. Next best thing is probably the food –Thanksgiving and Hanukkah food. So we have a really small family, so we typically celebrate very intimately: we light the candles, say our prayers, and eat good Hanukkah food. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.” – Eliana Mazin, grade 11

Holidays, winter break – I love snow. I like winter outfits more than summer outfits. And I like the overall feeling; Christmas season is my favorite. One tradition we do is we actually open our presents on Christmas Eve. That’s what my mom did when she was a kid and she passed it down.” – McKenna Simcox, grade 10 

During the winter season I love relaxing with friends and family, listening to Christmas/holiday songs every day, and baking cookies for people. Usually, each year we go to a ski resort on Christmas (for that sweet discount when everyone else is at home with family) with several friends. Obviously, this year we couldn’t, but it’s one of my favorite traditions! I’m most looking forward to the break, honestly, from everything school-related, since this year has been super stressful. I’m also excited for more snow, since that’s always very special.” – Michelle Ma, grade 12 

One of my favorite things to do during the winter season is baking and cooking! Usually my stepdad and I make peppermint bark (white chocolate + dark chocolate + candy canes + peppermint extract = HEAVEN)! Also on Christmas Eve Eve (Dec 23), my cousin and I go to my Aunt’s house and bake 3 types of cookies. Once we made brownie cookies, or brookies, and another time I put 2/3 cups of baking soda in batter, the result of which was profoundly terrible. Do my creations come out well? That’s questionable – but it’s the most fun thing to experiment!” – Lulu August, grade 11

Spending time with immediate and extended family is something many students look forward to over winter break. This year the holidays are different, but being together with family, even on Zoom, makes the holiday season much better. Graphic by Julianna Cruz.

My favorite part of the winter season is definitely all the holidays and celebrating them with the people I love. The weekend after Thanksgiving, my family likes to spend a couple hours putting our Christmas tree up while listening to Christmas songs. Then my friends and I always do a secret santa which is also really fun.” – Navya Shukla, grade 9 

“I love the winter/holiday season because it just gives me an opportunity to bond with my family. Our holiday season starts at the end of October, with Diwali, which is when we put up holiday lights. Usually, we go on vacation during winter break, but obviously, that can’t happen this year. I’m still excited, though, to play fun holiday games and set up the Christmas tree with my family!” -Namya Nanda, grade 12

What I love the most about Winter is spending time with my family. I also enjoy going out to play in the snow with friends, and bonfires. My family and I celebrate Christmas every year with different parts of our family, this year we’re celebrating with my dad’s side. I can’t think of any traditions we might have but that’s usually what we do every year!” – Alba Saberbein, grade 10

“When I was younger and we had more snow, I loved sledding. Now, I guess my favorite part about winter is the break from school. My family doesn’t have many traditions, but one thing my brother and I do is stay up watching random shows and movies. Since he’s in college, we don’t get to spend time together as often, so we hang out during breaks and complain about bad movies.” – Julia Craig, grade 12

“I enjoy spending time with extended family not during a pandemic, and I love the snow. My close family and I have some normal Christmas traditions, like getting a Christmas tree, putting up lights, and decorations. One notable tradition we have is that each year we build a fun miniature winter village display in our dining room.” -Zachary Lidl, grade 11

My family doesn’t have many traditions for any winter holidays – we usually just eat more food than usual – but my sister has an obsession with Christmas music and keeps playing it on her violin. I’m so tired of hearing Canon in D. She doesn’t even know how to play it half the time. She just plays notes until it vaguely resembles the thing. Pachabel is rolling in his grave.” – Anne Ming, grade 11

What’s my favorite thing to do in winter? I really like baking hot cocoa and Secret Santa exchanges. I also like sledding, but it’s probably not going to happen this year because we never get snow anymore. For Christmas, we usually have gatherings together, but that’s also not going to happen this year. Usually, during the Thanksgiving season, my family and our friends go to Great Wolf Lodge and it’s a lot of fun; sometimes we go skiing and snowboarding at Whitetail as well.” – Kathleen Li, grade 12

Some of my favorite aspects of the winter season include being able to wear cozy sweaters, as well as taking walks with my family especially after it snows. While my family doesn’t have any specific holiday customs, we have a tradition to build a snow fort whenever it snows enough!” – Emily Wu, grade 11

“During the winter, my family does lots of things together. We have this one tradition on New Years where we stay up until midnight watching silly movies. We all bring our own snack food/appetizer to share and it’s really a lot of fun!” – Elena Baird , grade 11

“I love watching Christmas movies with my family, more specifically the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and A Christmas Story. With my friends I enjoy ice skating at Town Center and then getting hot chocolate at Starbucks after to warm our freezing hands.” – Kobina Asafu-Adjaye, grade 10

“I would have to say that what I love doing the most during the winter season is not having school and being able to catch up on any homework, or TV shows, or talking to friends that I haven’t been able to talk to during the stressful time that precedes the holiday season. As for family traditions, we don’t really have any, except visiting family in New York. I think the holidays are a great time for catching up and, if not for the quarantine, hanging out with friends.”  – Christan Testa, grade 10

“One thing my family always does is make some hot chocolate and watch movies till midnight and open presents from our parents on Christmas Eve. Then the next day, we go to my brother’s house.” – Michelle Yuen, grade 9

“I like to bake cookies and other small desserts with my mom during the winter. For Christmas, my family and I like to decorate the house and put up the Christmas tree in the living room. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, my family would have gone to Christmas party gatherings with other family friends.” – Christina Tang, grade 12 

“My family gets different ornaments for the Christmas tree, to represent different things we did or our interests during the year. For example, my twin brother was doing a lot of cooking this year so he got a kitchen ornament with his name and the year on it. We have one for every year since we were born.” – Kyle Nguyen, grade 10 

“My family usually goes to a tree farm to get a Christmas tree and then we decorate it together, I really like the feeling of goodness throughout the whole month of December which mostly comes from the music and decorations.” – Johnny Newhouse, grade 11

“My brother ties a ball to the fan and cuts it at midnight on New Years.” – Iru Munasinghe, grade 11

“We make cookies.” – William Mason, grade 11

“I like just making food together as a family and opening presents all together.” – Sui Sung, grade 11

“Making hot chocolate!” -Ariana Kavoosi, grade 11

“I love to play board games with my family and listen to music. We do it every holiday.” – Isabela Santos, grade 11 

“Winter baking with my cousin or making something more extravagant!” – Cindy Le, grade 11

Opening gifts on Christmas Eve and watching the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special with my mum and sister!” – Victoria Koretsky, grade 11

“My family has made crepes on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember!” – Kathleen Cole, grade 11

“My family makes what we call “Christmas Poo” which is Hershey kisses between square pretzels.” – Avery Wang, grade 10 

“Going to visit the national tree with my family!” Calie Dunn, grade 12

“Sledding, hot chocolate + cookies, and listening to Christmas classics on the gramophone.” Rachel Wang, grade 10

“A Christmas movie marathon on Christmas Eve with my family!” Allison Howlett, grade 10