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Holiday traditions shared by the KUNR community

A close-up photo of a snowflake.
Peter Stenzel
Flickr Creative Commons

With the holiday season here and 2023 coming to a close, KUNR asked community members to share their holiday and winter traditions. The station received responses in both English and Spanish, the following are some of the responses received, which have been edited for brevity and clarity. 

“In Greece, we always pay tribute to Saint Basil with a special cake called vasilopita that has a coin inside! Whoever finds it is supposed to be blessed by Saint Basil. Similarly, in Guatemala, people go over to their neighbor's houses and engage in King's Day with roscón de reyes. In Guatemala generally, we also make atol de elote, a warm, cinnamon, spiced drink made of corn.” - Niki Strataras, KUNR membership services coordinator

“One of my most treasured Christmas ornaments gifts was a lighted, mechanical train, I bought when my oldest child was 3. He was entranced by that little train, moving around and around in its tiny world. He placed his small chair in front of the tree, to watch it closely on its journey.

Sadly, last year, I tried, in vain, to make our ornament run merrily in its magical world, but I couldn't get it going. However, just hanging it on the tree was enough to invoke the sweet memory and sound, and the vision of my boy, sitting in his little chair several times a day to watch his magic train, and my family ornaments, reminding me of milestones in our years.” - Beth Heggeness

“My favorite holiday tradition is the stocking! I hand knit holiday stockings for my children, nieces and nephews and the next (grands) generation. This year we're spending the holiday back in New Orleans. We're renting an AirBnB with my daughter, her boyfriend, and his family. The stocking has fruits in the foot, mixed nuts, fine chocolate individually wrapped pieces, small presents to fill the leg part! The stockings are about a yard long. My husband and I were raised Catholic, but we raised our kids Unitarian Universalist. Wiccan traditions: a decorated evergreen, holly, ivy, solstice, returning of the sun are all part of what I practice at this time of year. The stockings are part of it too!” - Nancy Caddigan

“My husband and I have a special tradition. We don’t have kids, but still look forward to putting up the tree every year. We decorate the big, beautiful noble fir. We deck our halls, and put up the outdoor lights. Once the work is done, we enjoy a lovely chardonnay, make cheese fondue, and watch “Love Actually” raising a glass to the season and counting our blessings.” - Maggie McGrew

“For at least the last 30 years, our family tradition is to have cheese fondue for Christmas Eve dinner. I think the thing that makes this such a beloved family tradition is the experience of gathering closely around the table to enjoy the meal, the hot pot of melty cheese sits at the center of the table, bubbling and warm, and everyone sits elbow to elbow with fondue forks in hand, dipping foods are passed around the table with many pleases and thank yous. It is a close and interactive meal experience like no other, and something the family looks forward to every year.” - Bryan Brown

“In 1975 our family tradition started on Christmas Eve in Sparks, Nevada. My parents would prepare Fondue Bourguignon. They would prep by cutting all the food items, such as chicken, lean steak, meatballs, prawns, scallops and veggies into bite size portions. Mom always makes her amazing dipping sauces and crispy garlic bread along with some form of rice side dish. Unlike most dinners at home, our Christmas Eve dinner would last for a long time. This is a brilliant idea for parents that want a way to spend more time at the dinner table with their child or children! My two brothers and I always had a fun and memorable time. Happy holidays from the Davenports!” - Brad Davenport

Thank you to the community members who submitted their holiday traditions to KUNR. For additional examples of how the KUNR team is listening to the Northern Nevada and Eastern Sierra community, check out the KUNR FAQ and content guide.

The photo included above is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
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