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Man on the street: holiday traditions

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It’s that time of the year again and the question remains the same, “What are you doing for the holidays?” While some people maintain the same traditions they were raised with, some have welcomed new traditions and some just plain don’t celebrate at all. The Sacramento Press asked locals what their holiday plans were for this year.

Felipe Olivares celebrates his heritage for the holidays
Alley Katz cook, Felipe Olivares, 39, said he was born in California but his parents moved here from Mexico and while he has become accustomed to the new lifestyle, he has maintained the Spanish holiday tradition throughout the years.

“When I grew up, I went to a school that was literally named ‘White School,’ I was one of two Mexicans in the school,” Olivares said.

For Olivares, the children stay awake until midnight every year and they open their gifts before they go to bed, not on Christmas morning.

“It’s usually a lot of tamales and a bunch of family over. We open our gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve.”

Peter Barnes welcomes new traditions with his family
Twenty-six year old Peter Barnes, works for the State Water Board and his father married into the Columbian Catholic Holiday tradition, so Barnes said he has welcomed that as a new holiday tradition.

“For the holidays, I usually go home and hang out with my parents in Petaluma. My stepmom’s Columbian and we’re Catholic, so the Columbian Catholics, they do something a little different,” Barnes said. “We usually do Christmas on Christmas Eve, so we do Midnight mass, which is at 10:30 now because nobody wants to go to mass at midnight.”

Barnes explained that this allows him to spend time with both his family and his wife’s family for Christmas.

“Now that I’m married, it allows to me to go for Christmas days at my in-laws. You know, eat breakfast and open up more presents.”

But for some Sacramento residents, this will be the first year they are not able to celebrate their usual holiday traditions due to work hours and time restraints.

Erin Caldiero exchanges “Dirty Santa” gifts with her family for Christmas
Alley Katz Bartender and Midtown resident, Erin Caldiero, said she will not be able to make her usual trip to Southern California to spend her Christmas with family.

“I usually go down to Oceanside because that’s where I’m originally from. All of my mother’s side of the family all get together and we don’t even do gift exchange, but we do the Dirty Santa, which is the gift game,” Caldiero said.

The part of the normal holiday celebration that Caldiero enjoys the most is where they get to see how grossed out the children can get. Unfortunately, she will not be able to see the look of disgust this year.

“We throw in some toilet paper and bras for the kids to get all grossed out, that’s what we do,” Caldiero said.

Kandyce Rusca has welcomed her husband’s family traditions
Kandyce Rusca, 26, works at a Cash Checking business and lives in Midtown. She said she has one present that she always gets on Christmas Eve.

“My mom always gets me pajamas, that’s the one present we get to open on Christmas Eve,” Rusca said. “I’m not going to complain though because they are really nice pajamas.”

This is the first year she will be spending Christmas as one part of a married couple, so she will have to work out how she will spend the holidays with both families.

“We go bowling every year with his my husband’s dad a couple days before Christmas, he even made us shirts,” Rusca said. “Then, we spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, and my husband also gets to open one present there, he usually also gets pajamas,” Parker said. “Then on Christmas day, we will have dinner with my family.”

Skyler Stanton goes to North Lake Tahoe for the holidays
Paragarys’ Cook Skyler Stanton, 26, said he travels away from his normal residency in Midtown to spend his Christmas with his dad, his sisters and his nephews in North Lake Tahoe.

“I try to go skiing as much as possible,” Stanton said. “I go to casinos and lose whatever money I have left over from Christmas shopping and regret all of it by the time I get back to Sacramento.”

Sometimes, dietary restrictions can offer new twists on the classic meals that have been a part of every holiday tradition.

Roscoe Williams has introduced a vegan turkey into his holiday feast
Roscoe Williams, a consultant from South Sacramento, has incorporated a vegan turkey into his family’s dinner.

“We have dinner with the family and do a gift exchange, either on the 24th or the 25th, depending on what everyone’s schedule is,” Williams said. “Last time, they had a vegan turkey and a lot of vegetables.”

There is still one tradition that some people have carried on, the tradition of not having a holiday tradition.

Thaddeus Porter’s holiday tradition is to have one at all
Alley Katz cook and bar back, Thaddeus Porter, 29, who lives in Oak Park and two houses away from his mom, said he does not need a designated day to show his love for his family.

“We haven’t celebrated anything for like 10 years. My mom is kind of old. She lives like two houses away so I visit her like almost every day. I have one brother, and he lives with her and takes care of her,” Porter said. “It’s just how it is. We don’t have people tell us when to give each other gifts or things.”

While Christmas traditions are normally determined by the way people were raised or what they have married into, some people’s traditions are simply to not have one at all. Share your holiday traditions in the comment section below.

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