By Rebecca Green
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College students are preparing to celebrate the winter holidays.
Graydon Huss, 21, celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas during the winter at his home. Although he never had a bar mitzvah, Huss said he’s “Jewish, mainly.” As to why he said that, Huss responded, “My whole family is Jewish and I was raised around them, more so than my dad’s side (who are) Catholic.”
His mom, he said, is Jewish and his dad is Catholic. He used to spend time at his grandmother’s house during Hanukkah, where he would light the menorah and spin dreidels with his family, and would celebrate Christmas at his house.
Huss said while he used to get presents every night of Hanukkah, he now gets them only on one night of the holiday. As to what night of Hanukkah he normally gets his presents, Huss stated, “It kind of just depends on how we feel.” Although he now celebrates Hanukkah at home every year, he still makes sure to light the menorah all eight nights of Hanukkah.
Tomika Odrick, 22, celebrates Christmas at her house with her immediate family. She said her immediate family has four people and her sister is away at college but “will be coming back for Christmas.”
She said her mom makes a big deal out of Christmas. Her family makes sure to hang up all the holiday cards they receive but they make sure all of them are signed.
Her family will wait until 10 a.m., when her mom usually gets home from work on Christmas Day, to open up her gifts. Odrick said they play music when they open up their gifts. Her family also has an order in which her family is allowed to open gifts. “We start from the youngest child to my dad,” said Odrick. After her family is done unwrapping gifts, they put them back under the tree so her aunt can see them when she comes over for Christmas. She said her family always has Pirouline cookies on Christmas.
Manu S., 25, celebrates Christmas with his friends in the United States and has since he has lived here. He still even gets invited over by his ex-girlfriend’s mom’s, which he said is “awkward.”
Before he moved to the U.S., he said he celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights that normally takes place in November, in India. He said Diwali is considered the new year in India and fireworks are a big part of the holidays in that country. Fireworks cause “so much pollution that people cannot have clean air the next day,” he stated.
He said during the holidays he gets and receives lots of sweets. He did go to an Indian function in New Jersey where people wore traditional Indian dresses and prayed. “Not many fireworks, actually,” he said about the function in New Jersey, though.