Junior Jared Rayman celebrates Christmas when he was younger Photo: Jared Rayman

As Christmas approaches, Pace students get excited to celebrate their beloved traditions. Many students and their families have unique traditions, celebrating Christmas in different ways.

Junior Alondra Juarez and her family have always done most of their gift giving on Christmas Eve. “Even when I was like four we would stay up until midnight and open presents,” said Juarez. On Christmas Day, Juarez and her family always attend the afternoon mass at Christ the King church.

One tradition that Catholic churches observe on Christmas is the lighting of the fifth candle on the Advent wreath to symbolize the end of the Advent season. Advent marks the time leading up to Christmas, specifically the four Sundays before Christmas. Each Sunday, one candle is lit on the wreath. On Christmas Day, the fifth candle is lit, in addition to the other four candles on the wreath. Juarez also loves the decorations in the church for Christmas. “The poinsettias change the feeling of mass to remind you of the birth of Christ,” said Juarez.

Junior Siofra Casey usually attends midnight mass on Christmas Eve with her family. Every two years, Casey and her family spend Christmas in Ireland with her 38 cousins. “We all usually stay at one primary house, and try to squeeze in as many people as possible,” said Casey.

For Casey’s family, the celebration of Christmas in Ireland extends from Christmas Eve to the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6. “Some Irish people call [the feast] ‘Little Christmas,’” said Casey. As for the day after Christmas, people in Ireland celebrate St. Stephen’s Day. Casey and her family watch all the football matches on that day.

Sophomore Hayden Sample and junior Jared Rayman celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah. Sample’s father is Christian while her mother is Jewish, while Rayman’s father is Jewish and her mother is Roman Catholic. “It really is not difficult having two different holidays,” said Rayman. “My brother and I respect and admire the heritages of my mother and father.”

As for the actual celebration, both Sample and Rayman celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas how many other families do. “On Hanukkah, we do gifts along the lines of stocking stuffers like smaller things, and Christmas we do bigger gifts.” said Sample. Rayman and his family celebrate Hanukkah each night, and celebrate Christmas primarily during the morning of Christmas Day.