Bronxville Teachers’ Holiday Traditions


Quentin McCarthy

With the early sunsets and the cold weather that come with the winter season, we are all reminded of the holidays many of us celebrate later this month: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. While we all hold some of our own beloved traditions within our families, it can also be interesting to see what others do with their own relatives over the holiday season. During the school year, many of us students spend so much time with our teachers yet know very little about some of their own customs. In interviews with both Mr. Halling from the Math Department and Mr. Cross from the English Department, I had the privilege to talk with them about some of the things they each do with their own families over the holiday season.

Mr. Halling celebrates Christmas every year with his children, wife, and extended family. In early December, he sets up a Christmas tree and stockings for his three children on the wood-burning stove in their house. Christmas morning he spends with his immediate family opening presents and eating breakfast. Christmas evening he spends with his in-laws, eating a meal together with much of his extended family. This year Mr. Halling is going to the Berkshires with his family to spend time with all of his extended family on his wife’s side: seven of his wife’s siblings and both of her parents – possibly a tradition moving forward.

Mr. Cross and his family also celebrate Christmas every year. On Christmas Eve, Mr. Cross’ two kids, aged 5 and 7, leave cookies out for Santa. Overnight the cookies mysteriously disappear; Christmas morning, the kids wake up to presents under the tree and in their stockings on the mantle. Before they can open their presents, they have to wait on the stairs for a few minutes. The first thing the kids get to do when they go downstairs is to open the presents in their stockings. They then have a breakfast of bread pudding, pancakes, or some other sweet treat with their family. Finally they get the chance to open up their much anticipated presents underneath the Christmas tree. After they take turns opening up presents, Mr. Cross’ extended family comes to dinner where the whole family spends the rest of the night catching up with each other and enjoying the holiday.