Students’ unique holiday traditions

From receiving nipple tassels for a white elephant gift exchange, to playing Yahtzee, to arranging and auctioneering flowers, to viewing neighborhood tours of Christmas lights, Grinnellians have many exceptional holiday traditions. Photos by Mai Phuong Vu.

“Every Friday after Thanksgiving, now that my cousins from India go to school in the States, they come down to Sunnyvale in California (where I’m from) and we go to my mom’s friend’s house, where we have a meal, remember that we’re blessed and that we have a lot to be thankful for. It ends with my dad sleeping really early on the couch because he’s always working, and him wanting to drive home the morning after.”
—A.T. Tambay ’20

“My group of family friends (made up entirely of middle-aged lesbians and their college kids) has a tradition in which we have a white elephant gift exchange, which in the past few years has evolved into an exchange of extraordinarily raunchy stuff — for example, the other year my mom got sugar cereal necklaces, which were actually nipple tassels.”
— Eli Calalang-Lacroix ’21

“My fairly large family plays Yahtzee when we all get together during the holidays. My mom and my grandma will play it until the wee hours of the morning, so it’s fun to watch them make a big deal out of it. Whenever someone gets over 400 in Yahtzee, they get to write their name and date on the lid of the box.”
—Elise Bargman ’21

“We have a tradition on Christmas Eve, in which all the grandkids get together and pick an ornament located in the Christmas tree. Whoever finds it first gets to open their presents first.”
­—Emily Porter ’18

“During Thanksgiving every year, our family gets together with flower arrangements, craftwork or cookies and food that we’ve all made, and we put it all together in one big auction that our family participates in. It’s a fun time, and in the end all the profits go to a charity that we choose at the end of the holiday.”
—Seth Taylor ’21

“Sometime during Christmas break, the entire family [piles] up in a car to drive around for two or three hours looking at all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. I love my family, but this tradition is always kind of a pain because I’m the kid who’s always tired by the end of the night and I want to go home — but that’s the holidays for you!”
— Jackson Ferguson ’21