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Making the Season Bright: How MCPS Students are Celebrating the 2020 Holiday Season by Maya G.

As winter break gets closer, people have been brainstorming ideas on how they can maintain traditions and make the holidays special in this unusual time. Some families might be traveling this year, but most are going to be stuck at home trying to celebrate the holidays with as much spirit as they can. Many students of MCPS are doing things a little more creatively and differently due to COVID-19, but they also have many traditions that they will be able to keep this year.

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“We will sit down on the sofa, pick a Christmas movie, get some British snacks, relax, and watch the movie,” says Charlotte, a sixth-grader at Julius West, who is still able to keep her relaxing tradition of eating British food and watching at least three Christmas movies during winter break.


Sierra, another MCPS student, has a clever idea to go to her cousins’ front doors and watch them open Christmas presents from the doorstep. Everyone needs a break from their homes, including Sierra and her family, who plan to travel somewhere to have a change of scenery.


“Whenever we are eating our Christmas lunch, we do not eat meat,” says sixth-grader Wrona Jane who will be maintaining her Polish tradition, while also keeping her tradition of adding an extra ornament to the Christmas tree each year on Christmas day.


Sixth-grader Liena will be doing things a little differently this year by reading a passage from the Bible in an online church service, but she will still be making her sugar cookies this year as she always does.


“Saying the prayer, lighting the candles, and getting presents,” says Nina, a sixth-grader at Julius West, who will be doing the usual routines for Hanukkah and will be keeping her tradition of buying traditional jelly donuts for the holidays.


“Every year we watch the holiday lights from our car on Christmas Eve,” says Lauren, a student at Hoover Middle School, who can still see holiday lights while following COVID-19 guidelines. Lauren will not be able to do her usual performance of The Nutcracker this year, but she is going to have a recital on Zoom with jolly dances and songs.


Sixth-grader Nuala will be preserving her holiday tradition of driving around her neighborhood in her pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, eating popcorn, and looking at all the different holiday lights on people’s houses and lawns. Nuala will also continue her traditions of watching the classic movies Elf and Home Alone and baking a ton of gingerbread cookies, thumbprint cookies, and sugar cookies.


“I’m going to have a meal with my family . . . I usually go to my grandma's for Christmas, but I am going to do a Zoom,” says MCPS student Sydney at Hoover Middle School, who won’t be doing the usual things she does for the holidays. She will continue her tradition of watching the New Year’s Eve countdown in New York City's Times Square, while eating grapes and participating in her family's tradition of making a holiday card, which they put on a door with all of their other holiday cards from previous years.


Even though winter break this year will not be the same, people in our MCPS community are still keeping their traditions alive, as well as finding new and creative ways to celebrate the holiday season.

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