Holiday memories abound in students

By Alizabeth Christian

The holidays are right around the corner and alongside the festivities are the memorable moments shared by friends and family. UA students, enthusiastic for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, decided to share some personal experiences with the previous holidays.

UA sophomore Raphella Howell shares Thanksgiving with her extended family at her aunt’s house. Howell remembered one Thanksgiving experience in particular that created a smile and maybe even a laugh or two.

“I remember my family was gathered around my aunt’s dining table awaiting to eat the home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner,” Howell said. “I was helping my aunt carry in tray after tray, overflowing with my family’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes: turkey, green beans, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and of course, my aunt’s homemade biscuits.”

Howell describes her aunt’s homemade biscuits as instantaneously melting in your mouth. They were a must to complete her family’s annual Thanksgiving feast.

“Each member of my family received two biscuits on the side of their meal, and the remaining were placed as a centerpiece for the table,” Howell said. “As the Thanksgiving meal came to a close, my aunt quickly began cleaning up and preparing to grab the dessert (a homemade sweet potato pie). While our stomachs rested from the meal, my uncles Lamar and Steve were nowhere near finished with their dinners.”

Howell stated that throughout the meal, the two of her uncles had been eyeing the last biscuit resting by its lonesome self.

“Quickly making a nervous swipe, my Uncle Steve had claimed victory over the helpless biscuit,” Howell said laughing. “Uncle Lamar, with his arm frozen mid-reach, glared at Uncle Steve and knew it was time to declare war over the precious bread. ‘What do you suppose you are doing?’  Uncle Lamar sternly asked. ‘I am about to eat my biscuit,’ Uncle Steve replied. The two bantered back and forth, their voices becoming louder and louder. ‘I was born first, respect your elders and hand me the biscuit!’ Uncle Lamar demanded, reaching across the table in a fruitless attempt to capture the biscuit.”

Howell commented that as the two of them continued to argue back and forth, her aunt returned from the kitchen with the sweet potato pie in one hand, and a fresh pan of warm biscuits in the other.

“I could hear the both of you arguing like children,” Howell’s aunt said with a stern tone. “You two should feel ashamed.”

Disregarding the comments, Howell’s two uncles leaped toward the biscuits and began to devour them as the rest of the family quietly ate the sweet potato pie.

“I remember trying to hide my laugh under my breath as my uncles playfully argued. It is very much like my family to see war brought on over one biscuit,” Howell said.

While recalling some of the ridiculous and noteworthy Thanksgiving times the best of us have endured, some chose to look back upon past Christmases and reminisce on the most joyful time of the year.

Danny Hermann, a UA freshman, remembered one Christmas in particular that stood out from his other childhood moments.

“Several days before Christmas, I became incredibly ill due to food poisoning from an Arby’s milkshake,” Hermann said. “I remember getting so sick that I had to be hospitalized.”

Hermann describes that at the time he was only six years old, so the experience was terrifying, but not for the reasons one would think.

“I was really scared that Santa Claus would miss me because I had to stay at the hospital,”

Hermann said. “My dad noticed how upset I was becoming. Christmas was only a few days away and there was no way I would be able to come home before then.”

Cleverly developing a plan to cheer up his son, Hermann’s father had asked one of the nurses on duty to pretend she was one of Santa’s helpers.

“My dad told me that Santa would know I was at the hospital because the nurse would be able to tell him so,” Hermann said. “A few days later when Christmas arrived, I woke up surrounded by my Christmas presents. My dad had saved Christmas for me that year.”

When thinking of Christmas, one may automatically think of brightly colored lights, nostalgic winter tunes or easily dropping hundreds of dollars on presents. When UA freshman Oksana Ott was nine years old, these cliché qualities of Christmas were completely foreign and strange to her.

When Ott first arrived in the U.S. shortly after her ninth birthday, she was unfamiliar with the American way of celebrating Christmas day.

“My first Christmas in America was pretty funny,” Ott said. “My family was passing around gifts to be opened and I remember my sister had just opened up an iPod. I had only opened up books, and of course I wanted an electronic too.”

Upset and frustrated, Ott described herself as throwing a bit of a tantrum and hiding in the corner behind the Christmas tree.

“My parents only laughed and poked fun at me,” Ott said. “They had been trying to show me that there was one gift left, but of course I was being stubborn and didn’t want to open it.”

Ott eventually caved in and discovered that she too had received an electronic.

“My parents had surprised me with a camera that I had been wanting. I ended up feeling so silly for pouting the way that I did,” said Ott.

Of course, one must take into account that along with the holidays may come a certain type of seasonal playfulness.

UA senior Sarah Taylor commented on her mischievous actions as a child during her Christmases.

“When I was younger, I grew up with my three god-sisters and my biological sister,” Taylor said.

“Every Christmas, we would always sleep underneath our Christmas tree and play with our gifts.”

Taylor had been saving McDonald’s honey packets and planned to use them on one of her sleeping sisters next to her.

“My sisters and I were bad children,” Taylor said. “We had taken the honey packets and we smeared them all over my sister while she slept. To add to the little prank, we took this music set she had just opened for Christmas and we placed the microphone to her mouth. (My sister used to snore really badly).”

Taylor explained that the snores were amplified so loudly due to the microphone that her sister immediately woke up and realized that she had been pranked.

“I remember laughing so hard I could barely breathe,” Taylor said.

As the holiday season is nearing, more personal experience stories will develop and new memories will form. The holidays create a sense of remembrance and the anecdotes such as these add to the season’s warmth and joy.