Kittitas Holiday Traditions


Kittitas Secondary School librarian Karri Shelton and her family drag their soon-to-be Christmas tree through the snow. Shelton shared that she and her family started cutting down their own tree when she was a child, which was over 30 years ago.

Haley Kulm, Editor-in-Chief

Christmas snacks. Games. Pajamas. Fireworks. Scavenger hunts. From odd foods to gift traditions, Kittitas Secondary School students and staff have various holiday traditions.


For junior Jenna Bare, a special tradition for her and her family is to stay in on Christmas Day and play games with snacks. This has been a tradition for Bare and her family since she was about 12-years-old, and has been repeated ever since.


“On Christmas Eve, all of my family members come over to my house and we eat a bunch of junk food like pizza rolls, pigs in a blanket, or bagel bites,” Bare said. “Then, we go play ‘Pig’ but spell out ‘Santa’ instead [of pig], and we put on mittens and try to unwrap presents.”


Although classic American snacks are very popular around Christmas time, many people eat food from different cultures, such as sophomore Jose Garcia.


“We just make different food, like tamales, pozole, atole, champurrado,” Garcia said. “It’s with my immediate family and grandparents.


Many people have food traditions for the Christmas holiday, but there are also students who have non-food-related ones.


“Every Christmas Eve, my sister and I get to open one present each, and it’s usually pajamas,” junior Joey Girard said. “We wear them to bed that night and we wake up really early the next morning to open the rest of the gifts in those pajamas, and we always make hot cocoa or cider and listen to Christmas music while we do it.”


Not only do Kittitas Secondary School students have many interesting holiday traditions, but some of the staff do, as well.


“Usually my family, when we take our Christmas tree out, we take it out and then we light it on fire on New Years,” CTE teacher Myron Hamilton said. “We light off fireworks and my mom usually makes a fruitcake with figgy pudding.”


Many people enjoy cutting their own trees for holidays and getting similar gifts each year as a tradition.


“We always bake a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls and cocoa for the kids and coffee for the parents to go up and cut our own Christmas trees in the hills,” librarian Karri Shelton said. “And every year, every stocking from the youngest grandchild to the oldest adult has to have brand new socks in their stocking.”


Some staff even have rare traditions that many people have never even heard of.


“In our family we’re Italian, so [on Christmas] we don’t eat until 12:00 o’clock AM out of respect. Then we go to mass. Then come home and eat. Then we open presents that night,” secondary school janitor Leslee Magno-Anderson said.


Some staff not only enjoy their modern-day traditions, but reminisce about the ones when they were younger.


“When I was little, Santa would hide our gifts throughout the house and make it like a scavenger hunt,” Athletic Secretary Trish Poole said. “It started out with a note, and the biggest one was I got my very first curling iron and it was in the oven.”


Big or small traditions, students and staff at KSS have holiday traditions that they will always be thankful for.


“I appreciate my holiday traditions because it makes me appreciate what I have in front of me,” senior Payton Hyatt said.