Faculty & staff share their own traditions

From wrapping presents to attending church services, holidays are special

Skylar Hill, Staff Writer

Yearly traditions are often what makes holidays fun and memorable, and John Carroll staff members have their own traditions that their families enjoy.

School Nurse Michelle Webster does something special for her kids every year. She has special Christmas blankets that she puts on her kids’ bed while they are sleeping and put Advent calendars up and chocolates on their pillows.
When her kids were younger they made Advent chains; they could break one link per day leading up to Christmas. Each link had a scripture verse on it and a special action to do.
Mrs. Webster even had fun with a Nativity set: for each good deed the kids did, they would put straw in the bed for Baby Jesus.
By the time Christmas came around, there was a full bed for Baby Jesus.
Mrs. Webster and her husband even have alone time for Christmas when her children would go to bed. They would break out the egg nog and wrap presents. One year they even jumped on a trampoline.
World Language Teacher Erica Curtis said that traditions she loves are all in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Curtis and her family are from northwestern Pennsylvania. There are blankets of snow there around Christmas time.
On Christmas Eve during the day, they go for a hike in Allegheny National Forest.
She really enjoys the tradition because it gives she and her family an opportunity to slow down and really enjoy each other’s company while they have it.
Principal Tom Durkin participates in Catholic traditions. Mr. Durkin and his family used to go to Midnight Mass, but now they go to morning Mass.
“We used to go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but most of us can’t stay awake that long anymore, so we go on Christmas morning”
A very long tradition Mr. Durkin has had in his family a long time is baking cookies. He and his mother used to baked an enormous amount including chocolate chip and pumpkin.
Once they were done, they would give them out to family, friends, and coworkers.
After his mom passed away in 2012, he decided to continue the tradition with his daughter. She bakes the pumpkin cookies, and he bakes the chocolate ship cookies.
They bake up to 100 cookies and it takes them almost 12-15 hours to make. Even though this year will be different, he would usually meet at his cousin’s house to hand out the cookies, but this year he will probably mail them.
Math Teacher Courtney Von Lange has started traditions with her family instead of continuing them.
Mrs. Von Lange and her family have an Advent wreath that they light at dinner every night. Her daughter loves to light the pink candles, so sometimes to her it feels like it will take three weeks to get to that point.
Her daughter got her first Advent calendar this year, and she loves getting to open the little doors each day.
One thing that was carried into her adulthood from her childhood is to listen to William Hurts’ recording of “The Polar Express” on Christmas Eve.
Even though adults have to plan the traditions and cook, clean, wrap presents and go above and beyond to make sure everyone has a good holiday, they also enjoy doing it because the family is together.