How Urban Celebrates the Winter Holidays

Drawing by Blake Case

Drawing by Blake Case

What makes a good tradition? For each person, the answer is different. When asked about their favorite winter traditions, Urban students gave a wide variety of responses, ranging from bingo tournaments to musical theater performances. However, throughout all interviews there were a few common themes to indicate what makes for a beloved tradition. Spending time with family, laughter, tears, and good food all seemed to be important components of students’ most beloved traditions.


“Usually on Valentine’s Day I watch a romantic comedy by myself and then cry. It depends on what movie, if it’s The Vow then I cry. If it’s Crazy Stupid Love then I am like “ahhh”, it’s a whirlwind of emotions in theat. This had been a tradition since eighth grade, all the time before eighth grade it was exclusively Lord of the Rings. I still watch Lord of the Rings quite often but I insert other genres.”

– Austin Brenner (‘16)  


“We eat crab and play bingo on Christmas Eve. For the bingo there are prizes and you can steal them from people and then we try to make children cry when we steal their prizes. I’ve done this all my life. I have cried, I have been on both ends. Sometimes you steal a present just to make a child cry. I think my mom’s family has been doing this for a few generations. It’s just fun, it’s really fun, so we keep it going.”

– Anna Hambrecht (‘18)


“I would always go to a pageant at this church where we would dress up as angels and shepherds and such. Then we would reenact Jesus’ birth. It was really fun and they had all these donkeys but the donkeys would always poo and such. And it was just a disaster. I love my holiday tradition.”

– Imogen Budetti (‘18)

“Every Christmas my family goes to Half Moon Bay to cut down our own Christmas tree. On the way back we eat at this restaurant called Alice’s Restaurant. I like that it’s a tradition, that I do it every year. I like the tradition because it’s very Christmassy. We go back and drink hot chocolate after, and we do it with our neighbors.”

– Clare Blackwell (‘16)


“My dad does not like the idea of Christmas, so every winter we celebrate Winter Present Tree Day, which just so happens to fall on December 25th. We get a tree, and we decorate it, and we get gifts, but there is no mention of Christmas. Part of my family is Jewish, so we go over to their house and eat latkes, but according to my dad’s rules there is no mention of religion. Then we go visit my mom’s family, and put up a tree and give gifts, but, to my dad’s rules, there is no mention of religion.”

– Parker Sela (‘17)


“The night after Thanksgiving, to get into the Christmassy mood, my mom and my brother and I go out downtown and we go to this Chinese restaurant for dinner with my mom’s friends. We go to Union Square and the Hyatt, it’s just our tradition.”

– Rhianna Gallo (‘19)

“When we first get our Christmas tree, my family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas, but when we first get our Christmas tree we all get together and put ornaments on the tree and make cookies.”

– Hillary Roberts (‘19)

“In the past, I’ve had to perform with my brother on Christmas Eve, and I think I’m going to do that. But my cousin is really into musical theater. Between us, there are six cousins, so she has this idea that we’re all going to perform “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music on Christmas Eve. So I’m going to be the oldest one, who asks if she can drink champagne, and our little cousin who’s five is going to be the one who falls asleep. We’re going to choreograph a dance and perform it for our grandparents and surprise them.”

– Kara Fleishhacker (‘16)


“I’m Jewish, so I celebrate Hanukkah, and that’s a pretty fun thing to do. My family also goes up to Lake Tahoe usually to ski.”

– Coby Jolish (‘18)

“For Thanksgiving I go to Pennsylvania where my dad’s family lives. A bunch of my aunts, relatives, and first cousins all just hang around my uncle house.”

– Yossi Altman-Bukowski (‘18)