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Local Medina County News

From Christmas pageants to food, families have their traditions

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    Eliana Lewis, left, Josie Wolny and Jack Polt during the first-graders’ annual Nativity play Thursday at St. Francis Xavier School.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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If your child is in the first grade at St. Francis Xavier School, he or she will probably be a part of the annual Nativity play, donning a costume to tell the story of the birth of baby Jesus.

It’s a tradition at the school that has gone on for decades.

Adults who once made theatrical debuts in the musical as Mary, Joseph or maybe even a heavenly angel now watch their youngsters carry on the custom.

“They are always so cute,” said Jennifer Webb, director of ministry and communications at St. Francis Xavier Church, about Thursday’s production. “It’s been a tradition at St. Francis Xavier School for decades, so all the kids and adults enjoy seeing the younger ones continuing it.”

That’s the thing about traditions.

They transcend time and space, reaching across generations to link family and friends to shared memories of what it’s like to celebrate the holidays — the carefully curated customs that remind us of home.

This holiday season, we wanted to honor the traditions big and small that give special meaning to the season for Medina County families.

Rachel Sekerak, who said she comes from a big family, said that her family often will play a game on Christmas involving a Saran wrap ball filled with candy and small gifts.

“It can be gag gifts, it can be candy, and then you end up with a big pile of what you would essentially put in a pi￱ata,” said Sekerak, of Medina, as she recently drank coffee at the Honey Bee Bakery. “Then, you start wrapping it with cellophane … then you pass it around in a circle and you have until the Saran wrap breaks to try to get to gift. It’s manic and hilarious.”

While some play games, other spend their time during the holiday watching movies and reading traditional holiday stories.

“I guess every Christmas Eve we watch ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ and then we read ‘Twas the Night before Christmas,’” said Lauren Novak on Friday. Novak is visiting the area from Cincinnati.

She said that her family also will drive around Public Square and view the lights and the tree that the city puts up every year.

Food also serves as an important part of the holiday season and fulfills many people’s traditions. Christmas cookies and traditional holiday meals bring families together and can help remind people of holidays past.

“I come from New England, so every Christmas morning we always made oyster stew,” said Medina resident Dan Dacey as he paused Friday during a walk around Public Square. “I keep the tradition going out here.”

Dacey said that it is not a meal that takes a long time. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes of his Christmas Day to make the stew for his family. The joy comes from making something from his childhood for his family.

“Besides drinking way too much eggnog, we always get a Christmas tree — a fresh Christmas tree,” said Christina Douglas, who lives in Brunswick and works in Medina. “A cookie exchange, it’s one of the parties where you make a bunch of one and share with everyone else.”

Food and sweets also are what brings Medina resident Emily Deck’s family together.

“Eating is what the holiday really is centered around, if we’re going to be honest,” said Deck about her family get-togethers.

Once the food has been had, Deck said her family has another popular tradition that they partake in as well.

“And then we exchange gifts. And I guess the reason that it is so much fun is because when I was little that’s what we used to do at my grandparents’ house.”

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at aalfano@medina-gazette.com.
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