Breaking News
  • April 265/7-5/8: Senior Exams
  • April 265/10: No School
  • April 265/13: Graduation
  • April 265/27: No School
  • April 266/3-6/5: Half Days for Exams
The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Despite religious differences, everyone can agree that the best part of winter holidays is being with family

Ellory Zietz
A picture of Ellory Zietz’ home from winter last year, with both Christmas and Hanukkah decor.

Freshman Kayla Boerma is very excited to see her relatives for Christmas.

Like many other Christians, Kayla enjoys all of the traditions and celebrations that come with Christmas. She loves spending time with her family whom she doesn’t see at other times of the year, especially her grandma, who is a very influential person in Kayla’s life. Kayla and her grandmother now have a yearly tradition of baking Christmas cookies when winter rolls around.

“We have a really strong relationship because she kind of raised me along with my parents,” Kayla said. “She taught me everything that I know, and she was a great supporter of my faith and in my journeys.”

Although she was born and raised a Christian, this profound connection with her grandmother has helped Kayla’s spiritual life develop even further. Kayla also plays guitar for her youth group’s worship team and is very involved in the church. Kayla is so excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus along with her family members.

Even though Christmas is becoming more and more materialistic, Kayla’s favorite part of the holiday season is spending time with her family. Because of the joyful memories that are often associated with Christmas, many non-Christians celebrate the holiday as well.

“In some ways, it’s not great because we’re losing the real picture of what Christmas is about,” Kayla said. “But, it’s also a good thing because it’s bringing more people together.”

It’s important to make religious decisions for yourself rather than just following along with what your parents say.

— Ellory Zietz

Through the gift-giving aspect of Christmas, secular people come together to celebrate the popular holiday. Freshman Violet Belsito, an atheist who grew up in a Catholic household, still celebrates Christmas with her Christian family members.

“I realized [I was an atheist] when my friends were talking about how much they love going to church and I just never felt that connection,” Violet said.

Though she does not believe in the story behind the holiday, Violet enjoys the season of giving by spending quality time with her extended family. A big part of their winter celebration is getting together to share fun competitions and family memories. 

“Every year my mom’s side of the family comes over to our house and we do The Winter Games,” Violet said. “We get into teams and do a bunch of Christmas games with each other.”

Violet and her family also like to go to Rochester Hills and walk through the Christmas lights to truly enjoy Michigan’s winter wonderland. Even though she doesn’t agree with her family’s religious beliefs, being an atheist doesn’t stop Violet from enjoying the time spent with them.

Similar to Violet, senior Ellory Zietz feels like she can be upfront about her atheism around her theistic family. Ellory grew up in a half-Jewish, half-Christian family and always felt free to explore religion as she pleased. Ellory celebrates both Jewish and Christian holidays, enjoying the quality time spent with her family.

“Personally, I’m an atheist, but I like to celebrate the holidays to enjoy the culture and to be around my family,” Ellory said.

Although she doesn’t believe in a specific religion, Ellory’s favorite part of the winter holidays is participating in the different traditions of her culture. When her mother and brother light the menorah and say the prayers, she says it along with them. 

Ellory also joins in with the Christmas festivities, loving the youthful glee she gets on Christmas morning with her parents and brother. On Christmas Eve, she gets to see her extended family and gets to experience the joy of Christmas with her relatives.

“It’s definitely my favorite part of the year, whenever I get to see my grandparents or cousins,” Ellory said. “I have cousins on my mom’s side who are also half Jewish and half Christian, so they definitely understand [my circumstance].”

Rather than celebrate the religious interpretation of Christmas and Hanukkah, Ellory likes to dive deep into the history behind the holidays. Like Violet, Ellory feels like she can be openly atheist around her family, and doesn’t feel any pressure to believe a certain religious view.

“It’s important to make religious decisions for yourself rather than just following along with what your parents say,” Ellory said.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Micah McClarty
Micah McClarty, Junior Writer
Micah is a freshman who has just recently joined The Central Trend. She has been passionate about writing for as long as she can remember and is so excited to work with the rest of The Central Trend's amazing staff. Aside from school, she plays the piano both independently and in a band alongside some of her best friends. She has recently started playing both the electric and acoustic guitars and wants to continue to learn new instruments. Aside from music, Micah spends her time rewatching Community and messing around with her younger siblings. She is so thrilled to write alongside her TCT classmates in room 139. Her favorite Band: The Backseat Lovers and Weezer Her Lucky Number: 2 Her Comfort Movie: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Ratatouille Her Favorite President: Gerald R. Ford

Comments (0)

All The Central Trend Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *