Educators reflect on their Christmas traditions

Family is the focus during the holidays


Cathedran file photo

Every year, English teacher Mrs. Nancy Wheeler looks forward to seeing the tap dancing Santas.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-In-Chief

The holidays are approaching and families are starting to come together to celebrate. Three educators shared their versions of Christmas with their families. 

Mrs. Shannon (Farrell) Fox ‘80

Christian Service Administrator

“We are big on the three gifts from Santa as baby Jesus received from the three kings. We gave them as parents a gift that they want, a gift that is needed, a book and an ornament. More than the gifts, it’s about being together. Several of our kids do not want our traditions to change, which is becoming harder since they are starting to marry. 

“We always go to Mass on Christmas Eve followed by a big family dinner. Christmas morning everyone opens gifts (and we have) a traditional breakfast. Christmas evening we open our home to family and friends that may not have anyone to celebrate with for a traditional Christmas dinner.”

Fox said she and her family have been upholding these traditions for more than 25 years, since their children were toddlers. She said, “It helps us prioritize what Christmas is all about Jesus’s birthday and being with friends and family.”

Mr. Mark Matthews

Social studies teacher and co-director of arts and humanities

“When my children were younger we all went to the children’s Mass together on Christmas Eve and then came home to exchange presents and have a traditional Christmas meal. Now that they are older we go to midnight Mass together,” he said. Matthews said that the tradition started when his older kids were young and they just kept the tradition going. He said, “We’ve had the tradition for about 30 years. My children love all kinds of traditions. It takes almost a week to decorate our house for the Christmas season. We started out with one Christmas tree, but my wife loves it so much we have six trees now.” 

Mrs. Nancy Wheeler

English teacher  

“We go to ‘Yuletide’ and have every year for at least the last 25 years. My husband loves the whole show, and I love the tap dancing Santas. Our children were not given a choice. After we had attended five years in a row, it became a tradition, so now, as a mother, it’s one of the few requirements I make of my children, who are now adults, and we work around their schedule for the show time,” Wheeler said. 

Another tradition she and her family carry out involves her sisters and their husbands coming to Wheeler’s house for Christmas Day. “One lives in Colorado, one in Arizona and one in Chicago. We would go to Manchester, where my mother was in a nursing home, and have Christmas usually in January, usually on Martin Luther King’s birthday. The tradition would include a skit that we all have to do. One year, it was doing scenes from ‘White Christmas’ with my husband as Bing Crosby singing ‘Sisters, Sisters.’”