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Family Traditions Abound as Students Head Home for the Holidays

Family Traditions Abound as Students Head Home for the Holidays

Compiled by Jennifer Spencer

As the semester draws to a close and students head home for the holidays, Fordham families are turning to beloved traditions to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.

Several Fordham parents shared their favorite ways to celebrate the holidays through last month's Parents eNewsletter survey.

Excerpts from responses to the parent survey are included below. Names of contributors are included where they were submitted.

Many families said their most meaningful traditions have remained intact for decades—even if their children have changed just a bit over the years.

One of our favorite traditions is the 'morning march down the stairs' by our children. Even as old as they are, they still enjoy this tradition they began as children. Our son, now 32, attended Fordham at Lincoln Center; our daughter, now 31, attended SUNY Purchase; our third child, now 25, attended Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service; and our youngest daughter, now a junior at Fordham in the Bronx, line up at the top of the stairs and march down all together to open their Christmas stockings first. Then, when all the gifts are opened, we have a fabulous breakfast feast.
When we return home Christmas Eve, after a family gathering, my children open one gift (which is always a new pair of Christmas pajamas). They change into their new pajamas and we read the 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. My children are both in college and we still carry on this tradition.
Sunday [after Thanksgiving] before the kids head back to school, the five of us decorate the tree with ornaments that we have been hanging since the kids were born. There is a lot of laughter, groaning over the homemade ornaments that Mom and Dad refuse to get rid of, and sharing of memories.
Every year since my daughter was born she has received a collectable Barbie ornament for Christmas. I adorn the Christmas tree with these beautiful ornaments. Every year my daughter has to take them off the tree and line them up in year order and observe their beauty before rehanging each one on the tree.
Our daughter Jillian designs and draws our Christmas card every year. Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Verzino
In New Orleans it's all about food! We are talking about what's for dinner while we are eating lunch! So for Thanksgiving we start preparing early. We order oysters for oyster dressing, crabs for corn and crab bisque, and shrimp for stuffed mirliton. And of course there's a turkey and ham! Can't wait for my son, Michael Ceraso, to get home!

While many families are already dreaming about food, at least a few have planned more active pursuits to counteract all that holiday eating:

[Our daughter] Danielle loves to come home and cook with her dad. Every year On Christmas we go skiing with family. Since we celebrate Hanukkah it is the best day to ski because the slopes are empty! Marcia Reinstein
After [Thanksgiving] dinner, we go outside to a big hill which ends in the woods and have The Great Pumpkin Roll Down—a competitive (sort of) race to the woods/how far will your pumpkin travel event. Then the deer, squirrels and foxes have a bunch of pumpkins to eat.

For many families, the holidays are a time to remember—those in need, loved ones no longer with us, and everything for which we are grateful:

On Christmas Eve, three generations of our family get together and enjoy the feast of the seven fishes, although it seems that we are now well above seven. This is a tradition started years ago by my mother-in-law who is no longer with us, but we continue to celebrate in her memory. Peter DeBiase
On Thanksgiving, we have a white paper tablecloth and a box of crayons or markers. Everyone either draws a picture or writes what they are thankful for. Tim Rzasa
On Thanksgiving morning, Poppy (my dad) and my three children (Fordham student Ryan and his two sisters) will deliver meals through Albany Equinox to people's homes.
This will be our first Christmas without Gramma, but we will continue on our family tradition for Christmas Eve by visiting with old family friends and sharing Christmas Eve Mass at her church.

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