Holiday Guide: Northwestern students share favorite holiday traditions

Peter Kotecki, Reporter

Although some Northwestern students this Winter Break may only need to drive half an hour to a nearby suburb, others will have to embark on lengthy flights across the world. But many students said that wherever they go, they take part in special family traditions during the holiday season.

Bienen freshman Danielle Pindar, a Chicago-area native, said her family always opens presents the morning of Christmas Day and goes to the movie theater together afterwards. Pindar’s mother also celebrates her birthday during the holiday season and has made it a tradition to give the other family members gifts on her own birthday, Pindar said.

Some NU students will be traveling to other countries to spend time with their families during Winter Break.

Weinberg freshman Grace Lu will fly to Shanghai to reunite with her parents. Lu, who lived in Michigan several years ago, said it feels strange to spend winter break in Asia, where there is less presence of Western-influenced holidays.

“In China, the population of Christians is small and many people don’t have time off during the holidays,” Lu said. “The Lunar New Year replaces Christmas and New Year’s in terms of importance, so Christmas is less prominent in China.”

Weinberg freshman Jo Machesky said the holiday season is primarily about family for her. She likes to decorate the tree on Christmas Eve, go to Christmas mass and have Christmas brunch with her family, Machesky said.

“Holidays for me are all about family,” she said. “There is no use of celebrating if one can’t share the joy with family.”

Machesky was rarely home in Urbana, Illinois during the last two years of her high school career, because she attended the Pearson United World College in Victoria, Canada. Machesky said the experience made her appreciate the time she was able to spend with family.

“Also, celebrating holidays from other cultures is fun and it shows us how much the holidays bring us together and help create understanding between people,” she said.

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