Holiday Thoughts from two Local High Schoolers - Growing Up Houston
Attention High School Students
In this recurring column high school students will do our work! The column will be 100% written by high school students in our community who have something to share.
Are you a poet? A short-story writer? Do you tell a story with pictures?
We can’t wait to see what you have to share! Submit your entry in 250 words or less, and up to three photos (hi-res and no smart phone) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish our favorite(s). Entries must be received by November 30 to be considered for the next issue.
¡Felices Fiestas! De Mi Familia
(Happy Holidays! From My Family)
WORDS BY GABRIELA MARIN
Incarnate Word Academy Houston, TX
My family is red, white and blue, with a dash of green mixed in. We are Mexico and America. Texan Mexicans. Whatever it is called, my family is made up of cross-cultural traditions that make that border not so far away. Every tradition Texas has during the holidays, there is some Mexican ones added in our mix. Whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, you cannot celebrate an American holiday without adding some Mexico.
This combination of cultures is prevalent in our food. Imagine your perfect Thanksgiving dinner: There is a large, roasted turkey in the middle surrounded by sweet potatoes, buttered buns, greens and your aunt’s casserole that remains suspiciously untouched but no one says anything. Now replace that turkey with cochinita, the greens are now bacalhau, we keep the buns and the potatoes, and there is no untouched aunt’s casserole because everything is too good not to be eaten. In my family, we like to mix our traditions together and make one, new big one. I’ve never known a holiday without bacalhau, and I have never known a holiday where my family is not watching football on the TV. We toast on New Year’s, but we don’t forget doce uvas. We make our eggnog during Christmas, but we would never leave out sangria. My family comes at 6 in the afternoon, but won’t leave till midnight. It may just happen obviously in our home, but this flawless mixing of cultures can be found anywhere if one looks close enough.
Dreidels And A Christmas Tree
WORDS BY CATHLEEN FREEDMAN
I love the holiday season. Like, please turn up the radio; I’m THRILLED “Jingle Bell Rock” is playing for the fifth time today! I’m all about getting into the “holiday spirit,” but that’s a vague idea. Everyone has different traditions for getting into the holiday spirit and here’s mine:
I really have the best of both worlds. My mother is Episcopalian and a sixth-generation Houstonian. My father is Jewish and a Yankee from Pennsylvania. My parents are incredibly open with both of their religions, teaching us no one religion is wrong or right. They support whatever we believe is best for ourselves individually. When December rolls around, out comes our dreidel and Christmas tree. We light the Menorah the same day my brothers and I look for Elf on the Shelf. There’s a reason our front yard has multi-colored lights—it’s because a lot of different celebrations are going on inside. In between Chanukah and Christmas, all six of us try to get together to read sections from the Old Testament every night, a common ground for both Judaism and Christianity. We have had (on many occasions) latkes for Christmas dinner. Also, I’ve begun to notice that Santa uses dreidel-covered wrapping paper for some of our presents… I wonder what that’s about… The holidays really are about blending old traditions with new one!