Q&A: Steven Ettinger

My family starts our celebration of the holidays over Thanksgiving. Every year, we visit my grandparents in Baltimore and meet up with the rest of my dad’s side of the family. My dad’s side of my family is of Jewish Heritage, so we do a celebration of Hanukkah when we’re all together for Thanksgiving. We play dreidel, eat gelt, and exchange gifts on Thanksgiving after our Thanksgiving dinner.
At home, over the holiday season, we get a Menorah and a Christmas tree. As a family, we do a small celebration of Christmas with a family dinner and an exchanging of gifts. We will often go up north and visit my mom’s parents over winter break. We’ll make gingerbread cookies with my grandparents and go skiing. For me, Hanukkah and Christmas are all about spending time with my family.
This year, right before we left for Baltimore for Thanksgiving, my grandma started having some health issues. We weren’t sure whether or not we were still going to go because my grandma was in the hospital, and we did not want to make it difficult for her. We ended up going because they still wanted us [to go], and it was really nice to be able to see her when she was sick and still spend time with her. It made me happy because I knew she was happy to see us, especially since it was thanksgiving. Family means a lot to her and all of us meeting up over Thanksgiving has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

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