Holiday Peace

December has become a month of holiday celebrations. Friends and family come together and the feeling of generosity is contagious. People all over the world are eager for the holiday traditions that December brings.

Despite December being more stereotyped as a Christian season with Christmas becoming more popular with the public, there are other religious groups that also celebrate their own traditions alongside of it.

Even though being born in the middle-east and raised in Arab traditions, Raneem Sleem has grown up celebrating Christmas.

“My parents did the whole Santa and gift giving tradition despite us not being Christian. It allowed us to fit in more with our friends,” said Sleem.

One family tradition Sleem incorporates into her holidays is baking Arab Cookies. According to Sleem, these cookies are much like gingerbread cookies and are usually shaped like flowers.

Despite Hanukah and Christmas being close together, Jonathan Licata finds time to celebrate both holidays with his family.

“We limit the days between Hanukah and Christmas so that they’re closer together and easier to celebrate,” said Licata.

Licata participates in the lighting of the candles everyday on the menorah along with exchanging gifts each night during Hanukah.

During Christmas, Licata said that his family will do the gift giving tradition and say their own prayers to celebrate the holiday.

Despite the misconceptions about the Mormon religion, it’s not much different than Christianity.

“We still celebrate Christmas, and we participate in many of its traditions like the gifts and going to church; Mormons are just branched off of Christianity,” said Nephi Tanuvasa.

Whether one is Christian or not, many individuals around the world look forward to the December holiday to spend with their loved ones. Christmas may have started as a purely religious celebration, but over time it has evolved to include a deeper meaning: appreciating time together with loved ones and showering them with our appreciation.