December 18, 2017
Dear LoMA Family,
It’s kind of amazing that every nation, religion and ethnic group in the world has holidays of one form or another. Whether they are about celebrating religious events, famous battles or simply the changing of the year, every culture throughout history designates a few, special days a year as times to break from routines in order to do something special with family and friends. As everyone has ten days off from school coming up, minus some homework time, I hope that all of our students take the time to do something special with their family and friends.
Holidays are made special by our rituals and traditions. These don’t all have to be very old or passed down for generations. In my own family, my mother reads the “Night Before Christmas” to us as her mother did to her and cooks delicious lasagna, just as her family did. But in other ways, our traditions change with time. My husband now cooks a Colombian feast for breakfast, my father and I go crazy decorating the house, my brother “surprises” us every year by stuffing of the stockings with silly gifts, and my sisters make crafty gifts. This year, we are adding a new twist to the festivities as we are all going over to my Dominican in-laws home for Christmas dinner. My point is, it is up to you to create your own holiday customs and traditions that make your holidays special to your own unique family, however you define it.
What is true for making your family events special is just as true for making your friendships special this season. As I wrote last week, collecting “friends” on Facebook, sharing pics and texting inane messages are no way to build long-lasting, meaningful friendships – you need to put effort in to special things that create memories. Take some time over the holidays to do something special with your friends – ice skating in the park, cook a meal together or visit the Christmas Trees - in Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park. You can also head up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Egyptian temple or visit the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History. They both have a pay as you wish policy, so ignore the big admissions signs and just pay a quarter.
I used to teach in a town of 500 people upstate. The students there always complained that there was nothing to do, and they were jealous of city kids who had so many options. The shame is that too few city kids take advantage of all that is offered to them. Don’t waste your opportunities. Ask someone today if they want to get together over vacation, and then make this holiday time special.
Enjoy your vacation,
Some of LoMA’s Families’ Traditions
-We play Ludi every year, when we’re all together. It’s a Jamaican game.
-We always play dominoes, the games go late into the night.
-Even though we’re all grown, we still go and get into our PJ’s every Christmas morning, even if it’s not what we slept in.
-We go to church as a family, even though it’s the only time of the year we go.
-We all play Just Dance, even the grownups and old people.
-Every time our family gets together, we use it as an excuse to make tamales. Sometimes I think that’s the only reason we spend time together.
-We celebrate Chinese New Year every winter, we go around to all of our relatives’ houses and get red envelopes full of money.
-My sister and I still go trick-or-treating every year. She was 21 this year.
-We always cook Hot Pot on Christmas, even though we don’t really celebrate the holiday. It’s a Chinese soup that is always different, which makes it always the same.
-We go to the Halloween parade as a family wearing a themed costume. This year, we were the Incredibles.
-We play Wii Sports as a family, and the winner gets a legit wrestling-style championship belt.
Some Ideas from LoMA students of what they like to do around the City
-Go to the Lego Store or the Nintendo Store, they’re lots of fun, even if you don’t buy anything.
-Go see the Macy’s Displays
-Go to the New York Public Library, it’s like walking into Hogwarts.
-There’s a lightshow every night around Times Square. It’s wicked cold, but very cool.
-Go see a movie at the Pier, but dress warm!
-I like to walk around the Holiday Markets they have at Union Square and Bryant Park.
-The Museum of Math is actually really fun.
-Go to the High Line, it’s better in the winter, especially if it snowed.
-Go to the travelling Cloud Museum, most people haven’t heard of it, but it’s awesome!
-Get some friends and do an escape-the-room!
-I like to bake. Make a cake with friends or a Gingerbread House.
-Go to the Whitney or one of the small arts museums around Delancey. Ask an Art Major or Julie!
-There’s a Science Museum in Queens that rocks. Also, Queens just rocks! Go to Astoria or Flushing!
-Laser Tag! Paintball! Some of them have cheaper prices during the day.
-Go see a Star Wars! (wink)
-I like the Brooklyn Museum and the Wax Museum
-Go eat at a diner! I love diners.
-There’s a rollerblade restaurant on Delancey that I love.