‘Tis the Season: Maryville’s Holiday Traditions

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The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends, cut loose and have fun. But how to have fun, and how to celebrate the holidays, depends on the person and what traditions they follow. Everyone has a different way to make the season special for themselves. Maryville’s campus is no exception.

For Turan Mullins, Assistant Dean and Director of Maryville’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the holiday season means family time.

“It’s a great time to gather and celebrate and connect. My favorite part of the season is the food and hanging out and getting together. My family has a holiday tradition of eating and watching movies, three of my favorite things,” Mullins said.

His family also regularly celebrates what he called “Friendsgiving”. As he explained it, “All of my friends that come home to visit their family over the holidays, we get together the day before Thanksgiving and we hang out that night before,” Mullins said. 

For those celebrating Thanksgiving, Mullins’ advice is to take some time to relax and “disconnect from whatever work may be for you”, as well as to use the opportunity to “recharge your batteries, find your internal energy”.

“Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to the things that allow you to be the person that you are. From the love of your family, to the opportunity to do what you like to do,” Mullins said.

Kaci Conley, a sophomore organizational leadership major, likewise has her own unique family tradition for the holidays.

“The season means spending time with family, making new memories and being able to share that time with people you love. My favorite part is gift giving, because I love the excitement on people’s faces when they get gifts they had wanted,” Conley said.

Conley’s family has a unique tradition for the holidays. “Every New Year’s Eve, my family colors paper bags with the things that we wish for the new year. At midnight, we blow these wishes into the bags and pop them. We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember,” Conley said.

For others, the holidays may involve religious traditions as well. For Randi Velick, one of the co-presidents of Maryville’s Jewish student organization Hillel, these include Hanukkah.

During the time of Hanukkah, her family lights the Hanukkah menorah one candle at time each night. Sometimes her family and friends will also go to Hanukkah parties. For Velick, Hanukkah means that her family “all comes together and spends time together in a more special way than we often get to during the rest of the year,” Velick said. 

If you want to start your own unique traditions for the holidays, click here for ideas from Southern Living.

Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Turan Mullins in his office. Photo Courtesy of Dylan Farmer.
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