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Nontraditional approaches to the holidays abound

By Jerusalem Nerayo

As it is the time of year for Christmas trees, wood crackling under the chimney, and simmering hot chocolate, many students opt for a different scene this winter season. A few Alameda High students celebrate the winter holidays with unique alternative family traditions.

Kimberly Yeung, a current AHS senior, renews her Christmas tradition of going to a Chinese restaurant with her family. They prepare for the holiday soon before the date in that “there’s not much planning that goes on since we do it every year.”

Yeung and her family recently decided to celebrate Christmas in a more public setting than usual.

“We go there because it’s an easy place to meet instead of at someone’s house,” Yeung said.

Yet for some students, Christmas doesn’t even hold a special place in their calendars. “Christmas is just an ordinary day for our family and our religion,” senior Charlene Francisco said.

Still Francisco appreciates the cheer of the holiday season. She cherishes the Christmas-themed decorations around the time of December. “[In] that time of year, everything’s just so festive,” she said.

The supplements of the holiday season transcend the religious origin itself for some of those who don’t celebrate Christmas. Francisco feels as if Christmas music is “soothing to listen to even though we don’t celebrate it.”

Students who don’t celebrate Christmas tend to celebrate another holiday this winter season– New Years. “We treat New Years more as our Christmas,” senior Haris Terovic said.

Terovic and his family see the New Year as an inclusive holiday, with no ties to any religion. And it’s become something his family does “because they never wanted me to feel excluded, being raised in an American school system where everyone celebrates Christmas,” Terovic said.

Terovic has never felt alienated by his peers for not celebrating the Christian holiday; he’s even come to appreciate the existence of the holiday. Terovic believes “it makes sense for everyone to celebrate [Christmas],” in a predominantly Christian-oriented community.

Lots for Christmas trees stand beside supermarkets, ornaments of every shape and color welcome shoppers, and radio stations solely dedicate themselves to a Christmas playlist soon after Thanksgiving. Yet that doesn’t seem to concern those who don’t celebrate the holiday.

Students do give great concern and appreciation for one element unique to the winter season– annual holiday deals. As Terovic joyously noted, “I get good deals for stuff at Target.”

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