Leaves turn from green to red, and twinkling lights are strung about. The crisp air begins to bite at a person’s nose, instructing them it’s time to break out the sweaters and wake with a warm cup of cocoa in hand. The holidays are here.
“Tis the season to be jolly.” It is November of 2021, and the holiday season is right around the corner. Among these holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas, and school breaks have students running to make plans. While some traditions and celebrations remain frequent throughout families, others mark this time of year with various different games, traditions and homemade dishes. Within the Lamar High School hallways are an assortment of cultures and holidays celebrated by staff and students in the months of November and December.
Janell Thompson, a junior at Lamar, gathers with her family around a table full of homemade dishes. Her aunt’s deviled eggs and the Thanksgiving Turkey are among the family favorites, she said.
“We get fat, chunky, and fed…,” Thompson said. “The whole family makes a different dish every year, we say a prayer and what we are thankful for, and just generally enjoy being together. Besides, all of us in the same house only happens so many times a year.”
A Thanksgiving meal is not the standard way for Maddie Ballard, a science teacher at Lamar, to celebrate the holiday season. In fact, it is customary for Ballard, as well as her family, to watch the Auburn vs. Alabama game while visiting her parent’s beach house at Orange Beach, Alabama. After the game has come to an end, the family finds a real tree to chop down.
“We take the kids to go out and find a real Christmas tree that they like. We’ll usually decorate it the same night,” Ballard said. “We even make those little popcorn garlands to hang up, and put presents under the tree. We just enjoy it being nice and festive in our home for the entire month of December.”
Greg Haugen, a choir director at Lamar, said the holiday season for him and his family is primarily about just that, family. Despite the chaos that it may bring, Haugen said Lamar choir’s holiday concert provides a time for him to connect with his past and current students through music. Haugen also attends the Christmas service at his church with his close friends and family every year.
“I truly think there is so much to be thankful for, there are so many blessings we all have in many different ways. And maybe if we don’t always pause to be mindful of those things we may forget them sometimes,” Haugen said. “So, to have a set time where we just stop everything and remind ourselves of what we should be thankful for, I consider that a really special time.”