‘Tis the Season For NAHS Students’ Holiday Traditions


The winter months at North Atlanta mark the beginning of an abundance of holidays: Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Three Kings Day, and more. As temperatures drop, holiday cheer rises throughout the school, and the Dubs await delicious treats and unique traditions. 

Kwanzaa is an important holiday to senior Lydia Scott, who sees it as an opportunity to pay homage to her African culture. The holiday is centered around self-improvement and strengthening family connections. This sense of community is solidified when the family eats a traditional feast together – including a sweet staple – candied yams. Every day one of the seven candles is burned – each symbolizing a different principle. “My favorite part is sitting around the table with my family and talking about what we did during the day to improve ourselves,” said Scott. “Seeing all of the candles light up together is so pretty.” 

Another popular holiday is Christmas, celebrated to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. Junior Taylor Ryan spends Christmas at her grandparents’ house in Arizona every year. On Christmas eve, they make monkey rolls that will rise overnight. In the morning, they eat the rolls with breakfast and look at their stockings before going to church. After church, the family returns to open gifts and spend time together. In addition to the celebrations with family, Ryan looks forward to enjoying the sweet treats of the season. “My favorite treat is peppermint bark – it’s just so yummy!” she said. 

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish celebration. Freshman Julia Havey celebrates by lighting the menorah while eating latkes – fritters made of potatoes. She also enjoys spinning dreidels and eating chocolate coins. 

Three Kings Day – or Día De Los Tres Reyes – is a Catholic holiday celebrated in many Latino communities worldwide. It recognizes the birth of baby Jesus and the infinite love of God. Junior Cindy Aveldanez celebrates with her family by preparing champurrado – Mexican hot chocolate – and eating the all-important Rosca – a sweet round bread decorated with dried fruit. Alveldanez explains that the bread is significant because of the plastic mini babies placed within it. “I love eating the Rosca,” she said. “But it is always nerve-racking because if you get the baby in your slice, you have to cook at the next family event.” 

Everyone has their own special way of commemorating the season and spreading holiday cheer. So whether Dubs choose to spend their break relaxing or continuing annual traditions, celebration and joy are sure to abound throughout the eleven stories.