By Sara Sanchez-Contreras; The Whetstone

Senior Itunu Ogundipe said he spends his Christmas Eve working; it pays more during the holidays.

But that doesn’t stop him from having a favorite tradition for Christmas.

Itunu Ogundipe

“The gifts and the money I receive is my favorite tradition,” Ogundipe said. “It makes me feel happy to receive things and, of course, the food as well is my favorite thing about Christmas.”

Spending time with family and cooking with them can be a very special Christmas tradition for some.

Sophomore Ellie Garcia-Augilar said she cooks tamales with her family, among other dishes.

“One of my Favorite Christmas traditions is opening the gifts at 12 a.m.,” she said. “Before opening gifts, we drink Abuelita, a hot chocolate from Mexico, and we play card games, but my overall favorite Christmas tradition is having a huge sleepover with my cousins.”

Some staff and students spend their Christmas Eve at church.

Marjorie Ramsey, a library associate, said she spends her Christmas Eve at church. She looks forward to lighting the candles.

Marjorie Ramsey

“One of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions is going to church and listen and sing the hymns,” she said. “My favorite thing to do for Christmas day tradition is cook way too much food and have people over to eat it.”

Senior Alexis Jones said she spends her Christmas Eve at church listening to the hymns and reading the Gospel.

“My favorite Christmas Eve tradition is when we stay at the church till midnight to receive Christmas Day together,” she said. “My favorite Christmas tradition is looking at all the Christmas lights downtown and in neighborhoods.”

Alexis Jones

Dr. William Kroen said he usually spends his Christmas Day with his wife and their son, but his Christmas Eve tradition is to go to church.

“We have a couple of evening services where we sing and read the Gospel until midnight,” he said. “Our family tradition was to always open our gifts Christmas morning. After opening our gifts, we start to cook for our afternoon or evening dinner.”

Sophomore William Valentine said he spends his Christmas Eve as if it were just another night. But he waits for Christmas Day for a big dinner, and his favorite part is trimming the tree.

William Valentine

“We put candy canes around the trees and I get to put the star on top of the tree, as well,” he said. “That’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Senior Minelly Cruz said her family’s big dinner is Christmas Eve.

“On Christmas Day, my favorite tradition that we do is that we all dress up in matching pajamas or sweatshirts and open up our gifts.”