How Jewish families spend Christmas Eve


Jimmy Ray Stagg

With Hanukkah coming early this year, winter break for Staples’ Jewish students is a time for family.

Most people know the stereotypes. Ask anyone what Jewish people do on Christmas and they’ll respond, “movies and Chinese food” without hesitation. What else is there to do? Everything from grocery stores to local restaurants are closed. But drive by any movie theatre or Chinese restaurant around here, and you’ll see lines out the door.

But what about Christmas Eve?

While those who celebrate Christmas gather around the tree to have a big family dinner or sneak in an early present or two, what are the Jewish families doing?

According to many Jewish students from Staples, whether they’re traveling or at home, they spend their Christmas Eves with their families.

“Usually my family goes away for Christmas break, so we usually are together but we don’t celebrate in a specific way. We just spend normal time together,”  Rachel Beck ’15 said.

It isn’t uncommon for local Jewish families to be traveling all over the world during this upcoming vacation. Having nearly two weeks off of school is the perfect opportunity for families to get away if they don’t have a Christmas tradition here in Westport.

Nick Benjamin ’17, who usually spends December break traveling with his family, “lays on a beach in some hot country” during both Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Even if students aren’t vacationing, this upcoming break allows for plenty of time to get together with family. Whether students plan on spending meals with just their immediate family or inviting other relatives over too, this can also be a great way to celebrate the holidays.

“We usually go to my cousin’s house in Wilton and watch movies all day and eat homemade food,” Emma Caplan ’15 said.

No matter what Christmas plans families have for the upcoming break, everyone should try to relax and enjoy a few days away from the stress of school and work. Regardless of religion, everyone seems to be looking forward to spending time with their families on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

“I can’t wait to go to my grandpa’s house to see all of my cousins and family on Christmas Eve,” Sophia Avitabile ’15 said.