Holiday traditions of the VMI Keydets

vmi_logo2With Christmas now upon us, VMI Associate Athletic Communications Director Brad Salois caught up with a handful of Keydets to get their thoughts on favorite holiday traditions that they share with those around them.

“My family and I always watch ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ around the holidays. At this point, we can practically recite the whole movie. Its a great way for every generation in my family to connect.” – Red Dowdell, Baseball

“One of the traditions at my house on Christmas, not exactly everybody’s favorite, is my sister waking up everybody in the house at 6 a.m. to open presents. My sister is seven years younger than me and does not relish sleep as much as I do. She is 14 now, so maybe this will be the year we all can finally sleep in.” – Andrew Woods, Baseball

“In my family, our tradition is that on Christmas Eve, everyone gets to open one gift, which is always some kind of pajama set. Then the next morning, we all wear our new pajamas to open the rest of the presents and eat breakfast.” – Caitlyn Jackson, Women’s Water Polo/Swimming 

“In my family, we have a few traditions that we like to honor each year. First would have to be everyone coming home and setting aside some time out of our busy schedules to go pick out a Christmas tree together. We then come home and decorate it with a variety of lights and all of the ornaments my family has acquired over the years, not to mention my two decades of Barbie ornaments that my mom saves specifically for me to put up.

Next would have to be Christmas Eve when we continue the traditions my mom has kept in her family for over a century. Her roots are Byzantine Catholic, so we continue the customs of not eating any meat that entire day and making two traditional foods. One is mushroom soup and the other is bobalki, which is a type of bread that we make and eat with honey on top. But before we feast on those, we do a few rituals: One is washing your hands with a silver dollar to bring you wealth into the new year, another is eating a clove of garlic to rid you of sins in the previous year, and then the next is having a cross drawn on your forehead with honey to ensure sweetness into the new year. Honey is symbolic of the sweetness in life, and garlic is symbolic of the bitterness in the world. Lastly would have to be my brother waking everyone up as early as possible, just for us to wait until late morning for our dad to wake up so we could finally open up gifts and watch ‘A Christmas Story’. – Bridgette Pouliot, Women’s Soccer

“My family always has a get-together on Christmas Eve with close friends and family, then we spend Christmas Day with other family members and have lunch and exchange gifts.” – Taylor Edens, Baseball

“My favorite things about Christmas are the music, the movies and the food. All of the best Christmas movies come on ABC with its annual ’25 Days of Christmas’ movie marathon. Everywhere you go, you hear Christmas music and everyone is always in the holiday spirit. Lastly, the food is always awesome. It is one of the few times where everyone in my extended family always gets together, and we cook a big Christmas Eve dinner.” – Jordan Weethee, Basketball

“Our Christmas traditions begin on Christmas Eve when my entire family (close and distant relatives) all come together at my great grandmother’s (Mama Carrie) house for dinner and we each open a gift from her. On Christmas Day, in my house, we typically wake up each other and open gifts from one another. Then, we meet with my mom’s parents and her other family at my aunt’s house for a huge breakfast. We open gifts there, then go to my uncle’s house to open their gifts, and we finish at my grandmothers house for our last gift exchanging site. Afterwards, we all usually go back home to nap until it’s time to come together again for dinner at my grandma’s. My favorite part about Christmas season is just being with family..and the food!” – Julian Jackson, Men’s Track and Field

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