Holidays Essays

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                                                     Celebrating christmas by William

     my favorite holiday is christmas!  I celebrate christmas by going outside and playing with snow, decorating a christmas tree and getting presents from my mom, my dad and from santa.  I hope I get to do these things this year.

     I decorate a christmas tree with christmas light bulbs, nutcrackers, and the star for the top.

but sometimes i play the nutcrackers with my older brother.  I always want to put the star on the top of the christmas tree.  our christmas tree looks so nice.

     I really like going outside and playing with the snow because it’s really fun.  when you go outside and play with snow, you could play now-ball-fight with your friends.  you could also lay down and make and angel.  I hope we go to the mountains to play in the snow this christmas.                                                 

                                                     The best holiday ever! by brian

     My favorite holiday is christmas!  i celebrate christmas by spending time with by family, decorating the house, and going christmas caroling.  I hope i get to do these things this year.

     spending time with my family is my best part of starting the holiday.  i like to go to my grandma’s house on christmas and spend time with her.  my favorite thing to do on christmas is dancing.  i like to talk to my family too.

     i like when i decorate my house.  it is also fun to put colorful lights on my wooden house. it is also fun to put christmas cards around the house.  we put the star on the christmas tree.  the lights look pretty when the house is all decorated.

     Laaa!  i love to sing, especially on christmas.  it is fun to go christmas caroling.  i love to sing different christmas songs on christmas.  i get to see all of the decorated houses.  my voice is loud on christmas.

     i love to celebrate christmas day by spending time with my family, decorating the house, and going christmas caroling.  i am so excited that i get to do those things.  my favorite holiday is christmas.  i can’t wait until christmas, can you?

                                                     Celebrating the new year by christina

     I know everyone celebrates new years, but mine is a little different.  my family celebrates with korean things.  we celebrate by going to granma’s home, eating rice cake soup, and going to granpa’s cemetery.  i love to do these things on new years day.

     my busiest thing is going to grandma’s home.  we have to pack foods, clothes, and other things.  since we have 5 family members, o we have to reat a lot of times.  our family has a lot of members,  when we go to grandma’s my cousins, uncles, and other people are already there.  it’s a bother to have so many people, but i love to go.

    in korea on new year’s, every family eats rice cake soup.  that’s one of my favorite foods. we say if you eat rice cake soup on new years you turn older.  my sister always eats that a lot because she wants to turn older than me.  after we eat that we say “happy new years!”  to the adults, and they give children money.  uncles say “happy new years!” to grandma and grandma gives uncles the money.  that’s how we do it at new years!

     our big family always goes to my granpa’s cemetery.  it’s snowy so we have to be careful to drive.  sometimes we race to grandpa’s cemetery with cars with my cousins and uncles.  when we arrive there we have to find my granpa’s cemetery.  in korea, there is snow so we could see the wonderful scene.  my grandpa’s cemetery is in a very high place, so we can look down on a beautiful scene.  we say “happy new year grandpa.”  i feel dad sometimes.  i love to go to grandpa’s cemetery.

     i celebrate new years by going to grandma’s, eating rice cake soup, and going to grandpa’s cemetery.  i love to do these things on new years,  It’s how koreans celebrate their new years.  i hope you can have a great new year!  What’s your holiday?

                                                                  chanukah by izzy

     Eight days of chanukah, eight presents, eight candles, one menorah and one shama’sh (the candle that lights the others).  Tonight is the first night of chanukah. 

     Long ago the maccabees were at war with the greeks for three years.  one night the maccabees went to a temple.  they found a little bit of oil.  they thought it would only last one day, but it lasted for eight days instead.  That is why we have chanukah today.  it is not about the presents.  it is about the favor God granted the maccabees.  we celebrate by saying prayers opening presents and maybe even eating coins made of chocolate.

                                                    Celebrating christmas by will

     My favorite holiday is christmas because I get new things!  I celebrate christmas by giving presents, going to church and getting presents.  I hope I get to do these things this year.

     for christmas, i get my family presents.  this year i’m getting my brother a $50 best buy gift card.  I’m not sure what I’m getting my sister, but she likes passion fruit juice.  my brother and sister always fight over it.

     I go to church on christmas day or christmas eve.  there is singing and music.  i like going because I might see some friends.  I might learn a thing or two too.

                                                                      nowruz by amir

     My favorite holiday is nowruz.  I celebrate nowruz by buying fish, grow wheat and put spices our.  On nowruz we give each other money and have a good time.

     when i celebrate nowruz we decorate my house by buying healthy things like fish, wheat and spices.  the wheat has to start out from a seed and by the time it’s nowruz it has to be fully grown and healthy.  i like to bag stuff for nowruz with my family.

     On nowruz i enjoy giving money to people.  it is a tradition.  the money has to be new.  once someone gave me a hundred dollars.  i’m going to give my cousins that much to see other people happy.

     i love celebrating nowruz by decorating, buying things and having fun.  i am so excited that nowruz will come soon.  it is my favorite holiday.  What is yours?

                                                                 (to be continued.....)

I like plans. Making them. Sticking to them. Of my many faults, one is that I have trouble, as my mother would say, just going with the flow. I get discombobulated when my husband calls from work to say he'll be on the 6:20 train instead of the 6:00. I'm flustered when the baby decides not to nap. A running joke in my house is that even on weekends I ask, "What's on the agenda?" and pester everybody until we have one.

Last December, just after Christmas, I, along with my family—meaning my parents, my brother and his wife, my sister and her fiancé, my husband, and our two kids, ages six and one—took an exceedingly well-organized trip to Colorado. It was a blissful week. We went skiing, snow tubing, and dogsledding. We rode horse-drawn carriages through the glittering snow. And finally, when it was time to leave, we took a shuttle to the airport so we could catch flights back to our various homes.

At least, that's what was supposed to happen. Instead, my husband, kids, and I watched as our relatives boarded planes while we waited for our flight to Chicago, which was delayed, then delayed again… then canceled (a mechanical issue, we were told).

We'd been in the airport for five hours by the time of the cancellation, and we would spend another five retrieving our luggage, commiserating with other passengers, walking in circles around the gift shop, and trying to get rebooked on a new flight. Finally, we succeeded. The catch? The flight was three days later. And out of Denver, three hours away.

Well, whatever it takes, we thought. We hunkered down in a hotel. We cooked food in the room and washed clothes in the sink and tried not to bump into each other with every move. It wasn't until the night before the new flight that we started to relax. The children pulled the sheets off the hotel beds and made a fort in the bathtub. Tomorrow, I kept thinking. We'll be home tomorrow. Ultimately, no one would miss much school or work.

Then our flight got canceled again, this time due to weather.

We called the airline. "Three more days," they told us. "That's the best we can do." Frantically, we tried other carriers without any luck. My husband called our original airline and set his phone on the bed, hold music playing in the background as both of us checked flights online. Was this some sort of cosmic joke? Would we ever get home?

Two hours of synthesized Muzak later, an agent answered. My husband dove for the phone. He started explaining our predicament. Then I heard him say, "Hello?" "Hello?" he said again, the panic in his voice rising like a flood. "Hello!" He stared at the phone in his hand. The call had dropped.

Desperation is the most irrational of motivators. We thought we had been at the end of our rope before. Now we were someplace new—utterly defeated.

Which is why, when my husband suggested that we rent a car and drive 14+ hours in winter weather from Denver to Chicago, I agreed. It might not have been such a long trip for someone else, but the thought of a restless baby and an impatient six-year-old in the backseat for that long didn't sound fun. Worse, this wasn't anything close to the original plan. So I was reluctant, but given the dearth of options, I was on board.

We went to a grocery store and stocked up for the trip. A Styrofoam cooler and a bag of ice. Juice boxes and string cheese and grapes and yogurt squeezies. After we paid, the cashier gave my daughter a quarter to ride the mechanical horse at the front of the store. We have a picture of her on that horse, an enormous grin on her face. It was the first time that she—or any of us—had really smiled in days.

The sky was white as salt as we drove. Mountains rose in the distance, massive and stoic.

After a time, we stopped at a gas station, where the children pressed their faces to the beverage cases and ran around for a few minutes before we corralled them back into the car. We did that every hour and a half or so for the rest of the trip, and usually that brief release of energy settled them down enough to get through the next leg of the trip.

In the car, we turned on the radio and blasted "Wake Me Up," by Avicii, whose lyrics about traveling the world without any plans seemed oddly apt, given the circumstances. When nothing good was on, we sang every Christmas song we could think of, and then every children's song, and then every song from The Sound of Music.

That night, as we neared Lincoln, Nebraska, I was gazing out the car window into a navy sky when I saw a shooting star. A sign, maybe, of good things to come.

We stopped for dinner at Applebee's, and when the waitress asked if we were from out of town, we told her the condensed version of our sorry tale. When it was time to pay, she said, "Your bill's been taken care of." My husband and I looked at each other, confused. "The couple in the next booth heard your story," the waitress said. "They paid for you. They asked me to wait until after they left to tell you." If the shooting star had been a sign, it was for this simple act of generosity, one of the nicest things a stranger had ever done for me, for us.

We spent the night in a hotel off the highway, one that, contrary to my nature, we booked at the last minute. In the morning, we piled back into the car, through Omaha, into Iowa. We stopped at gas stations along the way, and then soldiered on. The kids were surprisingly well-behaved. The baby played happily with his shoe for untold hours. My daughter talked to my husband and me—really talked—about her friends at school and about some of her fears, conversations that I'm not sure would have occurred if we hadn't been stuck in that car together for almost 1,000 miles.

By the time we approached Iowa City, we were in the homestretch, and we stopped at Prairie Lights bookstore, where we let the kids each pick out one book. We drove by the building that houses the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where I did my graduate work, and I told my daughter, "That's where I learned to write." She looked at it in wonder and said, "I want to do that one day."

The traffic picked up as we neared Chicago, and though the temperature was minus 15 degrees, a mere polar vortex was no match for our soaring spirits.

"We're almost there," I remember whispering to the kids. I could hardly believe it.

And when I thought about it, I could hardly believe this, either: how wonderful it had been. How, after days of being miserable because I was trying so hard to stick to the established plan, the thing that had saved us in the end was changing course, and taking a different road—literally. Maybe it shouldn't have been a revelation, but for me, someone who puts so much stock in order and routine, it was. Our vacation had been full of incredible memories, but the long journey home, the part that I hadn't seen coming, was the part I now cherish the most.

My father-in-law was waiting at the rental agency when we pulled up. We hurried into his car, which he'd been keeping warm for us, and then we took off, at last, to our house.

"How was the drive?" my father-in-law asked us as he pulled out of the lot.

"It was great," I said.

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