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    HomeLifestyleTeens spend holidays sticking to traditions, making new memories | Lifestyle

    Teens spend holidays sticking to traditions, making new memories | Lifestyle

    As winter break comes to a close, it comes as no surprise that students are reminiscing of their last days of freedom and fun. While celebrations for Christmas and New Year may have been different from previous years, some teens were determined to make this break count before their return to cram sessions, all nighters, and just a little procrastination. Wink wink.

    Cameron Kelley, a 17-year-old junior at St. John’s School, found the break to be relaxing after what many students agreed was a stressful time in school.

    “School, especially in these last few months during exam season, was really tough,” Kelley said.

    “And finally being on break not having to go home and do homework and try to balance everything all together at the same time while doing school was nice, relaxing. It’s been nice to sit back and relax and watch TV again.”

    Xianna Macatangay, a 16-year-old St. John’s junior, found that this break gave her a chance to invest time in activities she enjoyed, something she was unable to do due to the rigor of junior year.

    “There was a lot of opportunities to hang out with my friends. We had Christmas parties, New Year parties, which was fun because it was a group of people … I don’t usually see all at once. So it was fun to bounce off of each other’s energy.”

    While Kelley enjoyed relaxing during the break, he also had a fairly busy social life.

    “(The parties) were all at different times doing different activities, from doing a gift exchange at 11 at night to being on a boat at 11 in the morning,” Kelley said.

    A new environment

    Other teens were busy during the break for other reasons.

    Joanne Park, another 16-year-old St. John’s junior, moved to a new house.

    “This is the first time I’ve moved in my life and it was a very interesting experience because I realized how difficult it was to move,” Park said.

    “I’ve been living in the same place for 12 years, but I didn’t realize how much stuff we had and since we do have a pretty big family, it’s a lot of stuff! It took a very long time to get everything moved and that was really difficult, but it was worth it because this house is really nice and I’m happy for the experience.”

    Park originally had planned to spend the break in Korea, her home country, but those plans were canceled due to the recent rise of the omicron variant. Instead, she found herself occupied with the move as well as parties celebrating the holiday season.

    Holiday traditions

    Aside from spending time with friends, Kelley and Macatangay continued to keep some holiday traditions with their families.

    “We go down to my grandmother’s house and celebrate together,” Kelley said.

    “We have a nice meal, we give each other gifts, the whole nine yards. We spend the whole day there cooking, spending time together, usually with Gilmore Girls playing in the background on my grandmother’s TV.”

    His connection with his Japanese roots also play a part in holiday festivities.

    “My parents and grandparents are very superstitious about the New Year and especially around the New Year time, so whenever we make spaghetti … we make sure the noodles are full length, if not extra long,” Kelley said.

    “It’s supposed to symbolize, in Japanese culture … if you start the new year off by eating long string noodles, you’ll have a long life.”

    For Macatangay, the pandemic slightly changed her family’s holiday plans but they still maintained their holiday traditions the best they could.

    “Me and my cousins usually all meet up into one household and we just bring food and celebrate with each other. But because of covid regulations and trying to be safe, we just celebrated with our own families. It’s a change but we’ve been in this situation for two-ish years now. Since OG quarantine, this was probably the ‘most normal’ Christmas we’ve had so far,” Macatangay said.

    Park, on the other hand, normally opts out of the tree and gift giving but made new traditions this year.

    “This is the first time I’ve spent (the holidays) this much with my friends.” Park said.

    “We would play games, we would eat good food, just hang out, do a bunch of gift exchanges. We built gingerbread houses, we had competitions. It was very competitive and I’m so happy that I won!”

    Changes for the new year

    As well as keeping traditions, Macatangay and Park have experienced new changes coming into the new year.

    For one, Macatangay changed the color of her hair from a natural black to a vibrant blue.

    “Our head of school released a revised protocol of one of the rules that we previously had here at St. John’s, which was about hair dye. Now we are able to do any hair color, compared to before where it was just natural hair color allowed,” Macatangay said.

    “I was able to dye my hair blue … It’s a creative way to set yourself apart from everyone else.”

    Park’s new changes, apart from moving into her new house, include adopting a tiny family member: a cat.

    “This is the first time I’m getting a proper pet. It’s interesting because I have to research a lot and I had to ask a lot of people around and become more educated,” Park said.

    So, these teens have been filling their days of winter break with true holiday cheer, new changes, and much needed sleep. Now, it’s time to return to the demands of school.

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