Students find holiday spirit despite non-traditional family circumstances


Graphic by Shannon Tierney

Brady Jones, Staff Writer

The holiday season is in full effect, which means families will be gathering around for the “most wonderful time of the year.” For some this may be true, but for others, not so much.
Family time can be a drag, especially if a family is not the traditional type. Although it might be hard to grasp, not everyone’s holiday experiences are the same. According to school records, 23 students are in the foster care system or are homeless during this holiday season.
“Homelessness isn’t necessarily living under the overpass. Families have lost their homes due to financial situations, due to fires, due to natural disasters,” Josh Bloodgood, head of the catalyst program, said. “Students are doubled up living with extended family, living in hotels; anytime students are removed from the place they call home, it causes stress.”
Other students have divorced parents, or are without their parents completely. According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys, half of all children in the United States witness their parent’s divorce. For that reason, some people dread the holiday season.
“I would really want things to be different,” Stephen Vosburgh, senior, said. “My parents have been divorced for four years. The combination of their divorce and high school stress has made me very unhappy sometimes.”
However, Vosburgh still finds enjoyment in the holidays, and finds a way to think positively.
“Luckily, I have found peace with this lifestyle. I always look forward to the holiday season because it allows everyone to take a break from their regular lives and make great memories,” Vosburgh said.
Others have had parents who have been divorced their entire lives.
“My parents have been divorced for 18 years,” Rigo Bedolla, senior, said. “I did not have a father figure growing up, but I have matured faster and learned to do things on my own.”
Even though Bedolla has not had his father around, he still loves the holiday season.
“We cook a huge dinner and sit and talk about life. I love all my family the same. It’s like having all of my best friends come over,” Bedolla said.
Sophia Vosnos, senior, whose parents have been divorced for 15 years says that trying to stay on a fixed schedule has been the most difficult part.
“Some of the positives would be more presents, though the negatives can outweigh the positives,” Vosnos said.
The differences in the holiday traditions come and go from person to person. Some feel like Scrooge, others are ready to be Santa’s elves. Senior, Kate Gallinero, has the traditional family structure, and during the holiday season she participates in many family activities.
“We always decorate the tree and have huge Thanksgiving and Christmas parties. I love it more than any other time of the year,” Gallinero said.
Even though her parents are together, the holidays can still be stressful. Her holiday activities vary due to part of her mom’s side of the family living in the Philippines, causing her to grow closer to her dad’s side.
“Watching Christmas movies and decorating, just being at home with all of the lights and the tree makes life warmer,” Gallinero said.
Some may dread the holiday season, others may countdown the days until Santa comes down the chimney. Not everyone experiences the holiday season the same, and that is what makes this time of year so unpredictable for everyone. Through divorces, unusual living situations, or not, holiday seasons can still provide a positive atmosphere for all individuals.
“I wouldn’t want things to be different. I have found peace living this way,” Vosnos said.