We Are SI
Faculty Finds Fun in the Holidays
Jacqueline Boland ’14
Despite our universal love of steaming hot chocolate, warm sweaters, and themed parades, the holidays can be achingly predictable sometimes. Same food, same traditions, same uncle making the same bad jokes every single year. Then you find a person or two who celebrates the same holiday as you in a completely different way and you’re like, “Wow! Not only is this crazy creative, but I think I’m going over to your house next year and participating.” I guess teachers have cooler home lives than we ever suspected....
1. Mr. Gazulla: 12 Grapes in 12 Seconds
How does our favorite Spanish teacher and photography extraordinaire bring in the new year, you wonder? Exactly as it sounds. Mr. Gazulla shared with me a tradition from Spain that he’s participated in since childhood -- eating (that’s chewing AND swallowing) “twelve grapes in the twelve seconds right before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.” This tradition became popular in the 1890s in Alicante, Spain when grape growers had a large yield rate of crops they wanted to sell. Successfully downing all twelve grapes is believed to give the consumer a year of good luck, granted wishes, and protection against witchcraft.
2. Ms. Miller-Fleig: Giving a New Kind of Gift
Ms. Miller-Fleig’s Buddhist husband puts a whole new spin on giving and getting at Christmas time. Her husband, when asked what he wants for Christmas, started the tradition of telling people to “give him what they’re having trouble of letting go of.” My very impressed, yet slightly confused face, prompted Ms. Miller-Fleeing to further explain: “An example would be an old college sweatshirt someone hoards in their closet and makes them feel bad they can’t still fit into it, yet has a hard time getting rid of it. My husband would ask for that as a gift to rid that person of connection to a burdensome material good.” So, if you’ve been holding onto an ugly sweater from mom, a binder-full of confusing chemistry work, or a broken-down toy from a relative, visit Ms. Miller-Flieg’s house to spread the holiday spirit.
As young teenagers, sometimes it takes a teacher to expose us to the fun holiday traditions needed for a fulfilling break.
Choose groups to clone to: