• Faculty & Staff
Favorite Christmas Traditions
Moira McLaughlin

Christmas is a time of tradition, both in our Church and in our homes. Traditions are a way to bring us together with the people we love in order to remind us about what's important about the season, not presents, not parties, but the gift of each other. Our faculty and staff share some of their favorite Christmas family traditions. We wish you all wonderful Christmas season, and a 2018 full of faith and love!

Mr. Laragaibort, as a child in Ecuador,
with his family.




In Ecuador, on December 24th, it is customary to dress in red and white colors, have dinner together at my grandparents' house, and then open the presents at midnight. Normally, we stay up on the 25th until it's time for breakfast.
Cesar Laragaibort, Spanish Teacher






My brother-in-law and I always search together over Thanksgiving for the best Advent calendar we can find and we buy two of them. Then, throughout the season, we text each other reminders to open the doors every morning. We have been doing this for almost 10 years!
Jenny Minich, Administrative Assistant to the Principal

Our family and the family of my (now) 33-year-old daughters' friends have been celebrating Christmas Eve together for nearly 20 years. It all started with a conversation about Slavic Christmas food that turned into an exchange of their homemade pierogi for my homemade poppyseed and nut rolls (believe me, doing one of the two is plenty) that quickly turned into why-don't-we-just-do-the-whole-thing-together. Slovaks and Poles both do a big Christmas Eve dinner called Wigilia with lots of the same traditional foods, and a beloved exchange of good wishes accompanied by breaking special bread wafers called Oplatki, so the whole thing worked perfectly. We celebrate at each other's houses in alternate years -- the hosts do their national variations of certain dishes (think mushroom vs. beet soup)-- and enjoy others that have become traditional for our version of the occasion.  All seven adult children of our two families still do their best to make it back to Falls Church for Wigilia every Christmas.
Christine Ryba Curry, Latin Language Instructor

Father Patrick in an ugly sweater.


I love the whole ugly sweater trend!  
Patrick J. Kifolo, OSFS, Director of Campus Ministry











Each year since my children were little, we cover a territory for the Greg Gannon Food Drive. With the car stereo blasting Christmas carols, we fill the SUV with donations while honoring a great man and a great family! 
Suzanne K Carter, Lead College Counselor

When my family decorates our Christmas tree, we always hang the "firsts" ornaments last (baby's first Christmas, newlywed's first Christmas, etc.
Mrs. Monica L. Phillips, Math and Science Teacher

One central thing, unchanging even over many moves, is we make tons of cookies, especially Angel Slices and Pecan Puffs (the nuts sometimes vary depending on what  country we're in); we give them out as presents and gobble up all the rest. Also New Year's, as in many Latin countries, involves eating 12 grapes at midnight.
Sarah Monnerat, Teacher, Foreign Language

Several years ago, my husband & I were fortunate enough to visit several Christmas Markets in Austria, Germany and Belgium. We collected a mug from each market and get them out just for December each year. They bring back wonderful memories of our travels and the magic of the European Christmas markets.

Mrs. Handorf's family at Zoo Lights.

Two years ago, we began a new tradition of taking the kids to ZooLights followed by a family dinner at Cactus Cantina. Due to work schedules, we usually can't commit to a certain date, so we leave it a surprise until we're on our way. Libby (and now Will) LOVES the lights and the special family time together.

When I was a little girl, my aunt gave me a gingerbread mold, which you can use to create the pieces for a house. It was one of my favorite gifts - every year, I would painstakingly assemble and decorate a gingerbread house to display. Last year, I found the mold and made a house for my daughter to decorate, which she loved just as much as I did. My aunt passed away just after Christmas in 2001 and it brings me such joy to see the tradition she started live on in the next generation.
Caroline Coleman Handorf '96, Director of Communications

We cut down our own Christmas tree every year. We go to a farm outside of Frederick Maryland, pick out the best one, saw it down, lash it to the roof and bring it home to decorate. 
Kathryn Hylden Krueger '99, Mathematics Department Chair


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