The Holiday Season: A Time of Celebration

Emily Crousore | Entertainment Editor       Isabelle Carrozza | Photography Contributor

Although the holiday season comes with stress and anxiety for many due to the scramble to buy last-minute gifts or setting up the house to accommodate the whole extended family, the main purpose for this month is simple: celebration. Though there are many holidays celebrated during the month of December, the three most recognized are Kwanzaa, Hannukah and Christmas.


Kwanzaa celebrates African culture and heritage. The celebration takes place for a week, beginning Dec. 16 and ending New Years’ Day, Jan. 1. Although it is not a religious holiday, Kwanzaa is the culmination of many family and social values.

The late December holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in his efforts to create a time for African Americans to come together with their families and celebrate as a community.

The seven days of celebration that occur represent seven different principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Along with celebrating culture and community, the holiday also celebrates the harvest as Kwanzaa stemmed from Swahili phrase “first fruit.” Therefore, on Dec. 31, families conclude the holiday with a giant feast. This feast emphasizes the celebration of family and togetherness that Kwanzaa represents.


This Jewish holiday was created as a celebration of the reclaiming of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. To celebrate, a menorah was lit with only one day’s worth of oil, but the candle stayed aglow for eight days. Due to this miracle, Hannukah is celebrated for eight days in December. The holiday is also known as “The Festival of Lights.”

Throughout these eight days there is a celebration by lighting candles on the menorah, reciting prayers, playing games and giving gifts. On the eighth day of celebration, the menorah is fully lit with all eight candles burning. For feasting, most only eat foods cooked in oil to celebrate the miracle of the candle lighting.

A popular game played during this holiday is Dreidel. Families come together to celebrate Jewish rebels who, when needing to hide their Jewish practices, would pretend to play this game if a solider approached them. However, now it is genuinely played for entertainment among Jewish families. The dreidel has four sides and is spun to determine the spinner’s next move. In order to enter the game, each player creates a pile filled with 10 game pieces; this pile includes coins, nuts, chocolate and more.  The Hebrew writing on each side of the dreidel means the player either gives or gets something from a pile. The game ends when one person has collected all money pieces.

Hannukah is a time for the Jewish community to get together and celebrate not only their past victories but each other as well.



Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s day of birth celebrated on Dec. 25. This holiday has developed since the beginning of this celebration.

Many today recognize Christmas with the character of Santa Claus and his workshop in the North Pole as well as an abundance of Christmas movies that feature red nose reindeer and talking snowmen. However, whether people celebrate more religiously or not, the Christmas spirit can be shown in many ways.

The main way of celebrating this holiday is gift giving. The gift giving was a way to emulate the gift of Jesus to humankind by God. It is now also used to celebrate the importance of family.

Christmas carols have also been created to share the celebration of the holiday with others. In fact, this holiday even has tradition of Christmas carolers, who are known to go door to door singing Christmas carols to spread holiday cheer.

Although there are many different histories and traditions that led to the creation of these holidays above, it is undeniable that the month of December is a month of true celebration.


Emily Crousore is a sophomore public relations major. She has worked on Alice Magazine for three semesters and serves as the Entertainment Editor.