12 Days of Articles Honorable Mention: Holiday Traditions For the Hawks

As the New England region prepares to bundle up for yet another frigid Winter season, the warm feeling of Woodland’s hallways only grows stronger. Regardless of differences of personality, practices, or faith, the diverse pool of students at Woodland Regional all manage to coexist under their advisory group. Over the course of four years, the twenty-minute block serves as an interval of relief within the sometimes stress-inducing school day, allowing students to converse with one another and collaborate on year long projects. This kinship is only exemplified throughout the month of December in which Woodland’s many halls are thoroughly decked with holiday spirit from various advisories.

The most traditional method of celebration within these groups is “Secret Santa”. In this classic arrangement of gift-giving, students will randomly draw the name of another unsuspecting member of the class. These students then must buy each other gifts based on the other’s particular preference. While not particularly novel, the game has persevered through the years as a Woodland staple, and a vessel for friends to give back to one another.

 “It’s a great way to bond for advisories, to get something for someone that you wouldn’t normally get,” states Jill Plante, a member of Monika Fryc-Gabrys’ now four-year-old advisory.

While the classics may still prevail, a select few advisories have chosen to develop their own unique set of customs and traditions to celebrate over the holiday season. Michael Cullen’s group, including Matt Pumarejo, is performing a game seen on The Office.

“Essentially, we’re doing a sort of ‘grab bag’, where everyone submits a gift to be randomly handed out,” states Matt Pumarejo, one of the participants. “Then we can trade off our gifts to others.” While this style may not be quite as personal as the traditional “Secret Santa”, it provides a bit more flair to the event, and enhances the experience with a game-show-like quality.

This inventiveness is not merely limited to the gift giving aspect of the celebration; many advisories also choose to decorate their spaces in resourceful and imaginative ways.

While tinsel, string lights, and decorative trees make up the bulk of embellishments around Woodland’s many hallways, other classes opt to ad non-traditional decor. For instance, members of Krista Accuosti’s advisory adorn their room with festive bouquets of paper snowflakes for the occasion.

“We make an entire armada of them,” states Brandon McCusker, “and just hang them up around the whole ceiling. We make surrounding advisories super jealous. We have a lot of fun when we do it.”

While these traditions have stood the test of time for upperclassmen, the freshman are eager to innovate from the ground level with their own customs. One key example is Anna Muharem’s advisory, comprised of a group of eager freshmen, striving to achieve nearly a month of festivities around the school.

“Every week, we have a Secret Santa with a different theme.” states Emma Krushinski. “The first week it’s candy. Then it’s a snack.”

What truly sets this celebration apart from the rest of the school is the extent to which the advisory provides for the rest of the school.“Next Thursday, we’re making hot chocolate for some of the faculty,” Krushinski says. “We also passed out candy to show some appreciation to everyone around the school.” Already, this fledgling advisory has evolved into an efficient machine, producing endless holiday spirit around the school.

Whether celebrating nostalgic traditions as a senior or creating entirely new ones as a freshman, Woodland advisories have managed to conjure up more holiday spirit than ever before, decking the halls with creative decor and showing thanks to their friends and faculty across the building.