Being with family makes the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons special.

Thankful to be a Ram

With the semester coming to an end, and the holidays quickly approaching, end of semester fatigue is setting in on the students at Shepherd University. To help ease the stress of upcoming finals, let’s hear from students about what their favorite holiday traditions are. 

Students are counting down the days until Thanksgiving break. Hailey Fritzman, a junior in the sports and recreation program, is looking forward to a busy family-packed holiday season. But the word “busy” is an understatement for the Fritzman family. Hailey told us that her family’s Thanksgiving tradition is to go to her grandma’s house and have a big family get together every year. 

However, it is her family’s Christmas tradition that is the most surprising, because of how much family time they can pack into one single day. Hailey explains, “for Christmas I start at my dad’s house in the morning, and then I go to my mom’s house for lunch, and then my aunt’s for dinner.” Hailey loves the traditions associated with these family gatherings too.

She recounts, “My mom always makes broccoli cheddar soup and sweet potato casserole. We also do white elephant (a gift exchange that typically consists of impractical and amusing gifts) and my grandma gives scratch off tickets to all the grandkids.” What a busy but fun day. 

Madison Mertz, a junior in the sports and recreation program, also enjoys a full schedule during her holiday. After running the Turkey Trot race (a 5K held at Hagerstown Community College) Thanksgiving morning with her mom, aunt, and brother, they all enjoy a nice family meal together after. After running a 5K on a crisp November morning, a big warm meal is just what the doctor ordered.

But Madison’s day doesn’t stop there. She loves the black Friday deals as well. She says, “My mom, aunt, and I go black Friday shopping all morning long’”. It sounds like Madison lives by the old saying “shop till you drop.”

Whether it’s going Black Friday shopping with your family, or sitting down and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with family, the common denominator during the holidays is family.

Abbi Lewis, a sophomore in the exercise science program, has a favorite Thanksgiving dinner tradition where she gets together with her family and extended relatives, and everyone will bring food to contribute to the family dinner. “One special tradition we do is we go around the table and each say something we are thankful for.” 

Abbi also shared her Christmas family traditions. She starts her Christmas off with attending Christmas Eve service at her church, and then on Christmas day they open presents and enjoy each other’s company.

She also said, “Something interesting that my mom has always done for us children is that she puts gift bags with pajamas in them on our beds on Christmas Eve for us to wear on Christmas day. She used to pretend when I was younger that Rudolph the reindeer had brought us the pajamas to wear.” Imagine the Christmas pajama collection that Abbi has accumulated over the years. 

Jamie Marceron, a senior in the sports and recreation program, also has a favorite holiday tradition that involves pajamas. “Me and my parents always do a pajamas Christmas dinner. It’s so comfy.” All of these Shepherd student holiday traditions have the common denominator of family and many even share the common theme of pajamas. 

Maddie Hearn, a junior in the business program, has a favorite holiday tradition of going to the Christmas tree farm with her family and picking out their tree for the year. “We take a picture every year in front of it, so we have tons of pictures, and you can see me and my sisters growing up.” She also shared that her parents get her and her siblings a new ornament each year so they can remember that year. 

From Turkey Trot races to Black Friday shopping and pajamas, you can’t have a proper holiday without family. 


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