By Connor George Wendy-Akua Adjei; and DaQuan Martin; The Whetstone
Junior Dontae Daniels rarely gets to go home for the holidays. And when he does, it’s for a much shorter time than other students.
“Football takes up a lot of my free time and it can be annoying trying to find a ride since I don’t have a car,” he said.
But he loves going back for Thanksgiving.
“I remember watching the Cowboys and Eagles game. We all got hyped even though we weren’t Dallas fans,” Daniels said.
Dozens of fall sports players, including football and basketball, have a shortened break.
Junior football player Darin Matthews also loves Thanksgiving. One of his favorite traditions is when his uncle deep-fries two turkeys.
“We all grab plates of food and get together to watch the football game,” he said.
Junior softball player Amanda Curry said she was ready for the upcoming holiday.
“The only thing I don’t like about it is the Bay Bridge and D.C. traffic,” she said. “It could take me about three hours to get home.”
Each holiday, Curry spends it with a different family member.
“One of the special things about Thanksgiving is my cousin and my aunt are allergic to lots of the foods, so they get their own,” she said.
She has many memories of Thanksgiving but the one she enjoys the most is playing Pit with
“It’s a game where you try and get all of the same cards,” Curry said.
Freshman volleyball player Mackenzie Bender usually goes home for the holidays.
“I go home but if I’m in volleyball season (and makes the playoffs) I have to stay,” Bender said.
She spends most of her time with family.
“We don’t really have any traditions, but we’ll get together and watch football,” Bender said. “Later in the day we eat food and watch more football.”
Holiday Changes Since College
Other students say their family Christmas traditions have changed since they’ve been attending college.
Senior Lydia LaSure said at least one thing has changed about her holiday traditions.
“When I was younger on Christmas Eve, I would sit up and drink eggnog and put the cookies out for Santa while watching Christmas movies,” she said. “I have kept that tradition over the years – except I don’t put cookies out for Santa.”
Some students have younger brothers and sisters and keep many of the traditions they did when growing up.
“We make a reindeer food mixture with my sisters and put it out on the front lawn, so that when the reindeer come they have something to eat,” Braxton-Young said.
At least three seniors, including Braxton-Young, have a tradition of getting pajamas each Christmas.
“My grandmother buys everyone pajamas for Christmas every year,” senior Alana Corry said.
Seniors Kierra Whitaker and Brielle Braxton-Young said her family always gets matching pajamas on Christmas.
“My mom gets us all matching pajamas or our favorite color pajamas every year,” Braxton-Young said.
Senior Ashli Moore said Christmas has changed since she’s been at college.
“When I was younger, a tradition of my family’s would be
that we all opened a gift on
Christmas Eve,” she said. “Now that I am older, on Christmas Day I wake up and open gifts if there are any.”
Freshman Christenson Bautista and his family have a different Christmas experience.
“My family and I celebrate Christmas at about midnight because my mom is just getting home from work,” he said. “But we do the normal things like decorating the Christmas tree as a family. My mom cooks a big dinner and we watch Christmas movies together.”
For many freshmen this is their first time away from their parents. So this change could possibly affect their Christmas holiday.
“I won’t be able to help decorate the tree and the house with the family,” said freshman Christopher Taylor.
Aluma Angel Hall said she feels Christmas hasn’t been the same since she was young.
“When I was about 9 years old, I realized there was no Santa,” she said. “My parents had been wrapping all my gifts. Back then it shot down my anticipation for Christmas, but I got over it.”
Many Wesley College students said they are realizing that Christmas changes with growing up. A child who once was ecstatic about Christmas and goes through adolescence realizes the holiday is not all about just gifts or that there isn’t a Santa Claus.
Junior Niyah Thomas said she doesn’t have the same strong feelings she used to have for the holiday.
“When I saw my mom writing my name on my presents I was devastated,” she said. “I was hurt. I really thought Santa Claus was real and when I saw that, it just broke my spirit.”
Senior Alexis Bynum, president of Fairy God Sisters of Delaware, said she saw her father eat the cookies she had left for Santa Claus.
“That’s when I knew that it was rigged,” she said. “And my perspective on Christmas changed forever.”
Some people said they don’t celebrate the holiday because the meaning has been lost.
“Now I just like it for the festivities,” Thomas said. “Besides clothes and money, I don’t really expect anything.”
Junior Rakia Taylor said family is all that matters.
“It changed when I discovered the real meaning of the holiday,” she said. “It’s not about giving or receiving, but just being with family that you love and care about.”
Senior Al Sheriff who attends Delaware State University said the meaning of the holiday has changed. He didn’t get many presents when he was a child.
“For a while when I was a lot younger, I used to be upset, going back to school and hearing what everyone got, and I didn’t have anything,” he said. “But now that I am much older and I can work, I buy my family gifts and for myself and anyone else that I care about that might want something.”
Some students said that when they became teenagers they went through a transitional time, and their expectations for Christmas changed.
Freshmen Armani Wilson said he just wants the bond of family.
“My expectation changed when I was 13,” he said. “That’s when I stopped asking for gifts and just wanted to be with family. I wasn’t really interested in asking my parents to get me things.”