The Page Staff Shares Family Holiday Traditions

Jake Bryant (arts editor): Every year, a few days before Christmas, my family and I always go on a “sightseeing” tour of Raleigh. We visit the “Living Nativity” at Hayes-Barton Baptist Church (something my mom has done for 40+ years), stop by Krispy Kreme and order some fresh donuts, and end the night by driving through Historic Oakwood and looking at all of the houses that have swaths of Christmas decorations and lights. Although it’s not an incredibly exciting tradition, it’s a nice chance for my family to spend time together and to appreciate the simple joys of the holiday season.

Dominic Coletti (opinion editor): On Christmas Eve, right before my family goes to a candlelight service, we all make bags of “reindeer food” (oats and glitter) and sprinkle it all over the yard around my grandparents’ house. Even now that I realize reindeer don’t eat glitter, it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions. I always remember with a smile the joy of dumping the bags out on the snow, convinced that the next morning it would all be gone. Interestingly enough, every year, I would check for remnants of that reindeer food, and I have yet to find a trace…

Eliza Jackson-Wald (news editor): Instead of opening presents on Christmas morning, my family opens our presents on Christmas Eve night. Thinking about this tradition I realized I never actually knew why we did it so I asked my dad. He did this growing up as well and I know it’s an older tradition that’s been passed down but, the most information I could get out of him was “it’s a German thing” and “Grandpa Wald always said, ‘since Germany’s closer to the North Pole, Santa gets there faster than everyone else.’”

Stephen Atkinson (chief editor): For better or worse, all my family traditions seem to revolve around food. Every Christmas morning, we exchange presents and the “kids” (who are in fact legal adults–except me) lounge about in the living room as we await the best gift of the day: monkey bread. Made from Pillsbury biscuit dough, these chunks of this bread coated in syrup and brown sugar are nowhere to be seen by the end of the day.

Claire Perry (managing editor): For as long as I can remember, I have gotten a stocking from my grandparents on Christmas Eve, stuffed to the brim with clementines and a chocolate orange and cutesy Christmas trinkets that I may or may not lose. Although as an adamant Santa-believing youngster having a stocking on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was a bit confusing (to say the least), the individualized care that my grandma puts into making a stocking for every single member of our family, young and old, embodies a generous love that can come from nothing but the spirit of Christmas. I am so thankful that I get to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the people that I love.

The Creep Before Christmas


We’ve finally made it to winter break, but you would have to be blind to not have noticed that the holiday season’s been here for a while already. Stores are filled to the brim with Christmas decoration from lights to trees to candy canes. December is the month of Christmas… but according to stores, so are November, October, and sometimes even September. As strange as it seems, most people aren’t surprised when they see these products filling stores as early as September. It has become a normal occurrence due to a marketing technique used by almost the entire western retail industry.

“Christmas Creep” is a merchandising phenomenon in which retailers advertise Christmas-themed products earlier than the traditional Christmas season. In many cases, Santa store displays go up in October, radio stations begin playing Christmas music in November, and people become sick of Christmas before December even starts. For some, the earlier and longer holiday season spoils the excitement of Christmas. Others argue that the increased commercialism ruins the family aspect of Christmas as well as its religious roots. But the most noticeable and likely impactful consequence of Christmas Creep is the effect it has on retailers.

Because many stores rely on the holiday season to make a large portion of their profits, they take advantage of this phenomenon to increase the length of sales. The holiday season grows each year and with it, the sales. These sales are not exclusively related to Christmas—they also include Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales which often last at least a week each, if not more. When people believe they are getting a good deal, they are more likely to spend more money, so retailers take advantage of the holiday season to increase their profits. It doesn’t always work out though. These increased sales create a sense of mutually assured destruction for businesses. If one refuses to drop their prices, they will lose out to the others that do, causing retailers to continually cut prices and often lose profits.

Despite the downsides and irritation it may cause, Christmas Creep is not always bad. For example, people in Finland can’t wait for the lights to go up because the sun sets so early. And ultimately, for people with an undying love for Christmas music and Santa decorations, a longer holiday season is a longer period of joy.