Getting to Know: Holiday Traditions of the Keydets, Vol. 3
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com  
Release: 12/25/2016
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Courtesy: Brad Salois

Continuing a three-year tradition, Associate Athletic Communications Director Brad Salois caught up with a handful of Keydets to get their thoughts on favorite holiday traditions that they share with those around them. Read below to get to know the holiday traditions of some of your favorite Keydets.

Jay Broom, Men's Track and Field/Cross Country

Each year, my family and have a Christmas Eve routine we follow. At 6 p.m., we attend the Christmas Eve Service at our church. Promptly following the service, my family and several others go to dinner at a local restaurant. Kelly's is one of the few restaurants open in the area on Christmas Eve, and our party is usually the only patrons. After a dinner of huge hamburgers (Kelly's signature menu item) and way-too-many fries, we return home to continue our Christmas Eve traditions. We each change into our pajamas and gather as a family to read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2) as well as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Each year we alternate who gets to read and record each year's reader in the front of the book. This Christmas Eve tradition is one that we have observed for as long as I can remember.

Alex Frank, Women's Soccer

For as long as I can remember on Christmas Eve we have always done the same two things; go to church and open two gifts. These small traditions have become something I look forward to every year. It starts with attending the midnight service. Beforehand we all get dressed up and have a delicious dinner with family and friends. As it gets closer to midnight we pile in to the cars and head to mass. Following mass when everyone goes their separate ways with intentions of going to bed, my sister and I know our night isn’t quite over. Once we get home we sit around the tree as my mom and dad hand both of us one gift and let us pick another. The first one has always been a new set of warm Christmas pajamas to sleep in that night and the second is one of choice. These are the first gifts of Christmas in our household and regardless of if I’m 6 or 21 I look forward to these traditions we practice together.

Julia Logan, Women's Track and Field

In my family, my mom wakes up the earliest. At somewhere around 5:00 a.m. no matter the day. So my favorite thing about Christmas with my family is hearing my mom up super early attempting to not make any noise. That just cracks me up, because it's just like in the movies when a person is trying to be quiet but it just sounds even louder than usual. After the gifts are all opened, we chill out for a bit and keep the tv on "A Christmas Story" for the majority of the day. We love the narrations on that movie. It never gets old. It really wouldn't be Christmas if my dad didn't do his rendition of The Chipmunk Song: Christmas Don't be Late. His version is a true classic. My mom eventually asks my sister and I to ice the cake and make it look good. My second favorite Christmas activity is eating ribs and cranberry sauce around the table while listening to the soft tunes of Christmas jazz in the back ground. Eventually, my dad changes the channel to football and we all fall asleep in the living room after eating dinner. But then we all wake up again in need of some lemon cake with chocolate icing.

Brad Nardella, Lacrosse

Every year my whole family does Secret Santa with all of the cousins. We draw names out of a hat a week before Christmas and get one another mock gifts. On Christmas Eve we open them and try and guess who got each others gifts. The goal of this is to get the funniest gift possible that applies specifically to your Secret Santa recipient.

Chris Spada, Lacrosse

Every year my brother and I take a picture on Christmas for my sister in law's gift. Originally, we did not have any idea of what to get her as a gift. We decided on an annual Christmas picture in which we dress up in various themes, and take the picture. Last year's theme was an homage to the 1980's. The picture is somewhat spontaneous so this year's picture is still to be determined.

Emma Quirk, Women's Soccer

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. My family moved every one to three years growing up but our Christmas traditions were consistent everywhere. On the first of December, I leave out my Christmas “wish list” and the next day “Santa and the elves” replace it with holiday pajamas and an advent calendar. On December 5th, I leave out a shoe and wake up to it filled with candy and little presents from St. Nick. My parents adopted that tradition from our time in Germany. These two traditions were ways my parents tended to my excited in the month working up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my family walks around our neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights and tire us kids out before bed. And then we read The Night Before Christmas as a family, prepare Santa’s cookies and go to sleep. We also never really had a chimney growing up so we had this fake “Santa key” that we would hang on the doorknob for Santa to get in. My parents always did a great job of making December festive and memorable whether we lived in the Middle East, Europe or stateside.


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