Helpings of Holiday Cheer
By Junior Reporter Ariel Brumbaugh

Our sense of Christmas often begins when we are very young. Here NBT junior reporter Ariel Brumbaugh and friends report on the traditions of Fairhaven children.

My traditions aren't extraordinary or exciting. But to myself and my family, they are special.

On Christmas Eve, at about three o'clock in the afternoon, my parents and I load presents into the trunk of our car. We drive for an hour to Springfield, Virginia, where my family lives. We spend the night at my grandma's with cousins and my aunt and uncle.

Around three on Christmas morning, my cousins and I creep down to the living room to find 'Santa's presents' waiting. We munch on chocolates from our stockings and whisper about our new loot. I am usually an early riser, but this Christmas morning tradition is even early for me.

We play with our new stuff until the adults begin to rise, hours later. They all noisily fumble down the stairs with bags under their eyes. They do a pretty good job of acting surprised at our gifts and shuffle to the kitchen to get coffee.

After breakfast, we slide onto the living room floor to start the 'sorting.' The huge stack of presents is divided into smaller piles.

Then the excitement begins. Starting with the youngest child, each person opens up one gift at a time until all the gifts are opened.

After thousands of 'thank yous' we go home.

But the day is not over. After a few hours of trying to catch up on lost sleep, we walk down the hill to my Dad's parents' house for dinner. Whether it is shrimp curry, ham, or turkey, Grandma always makes fabulous dinners.

Then Grandpa sits in his big brown armchair with the presents at his feet and the Christmas tree by his side. One by one, he announces the giver and getter of each gift as it is opened.

Once the gift pile has dwindled to nil, we know that Christmas is wrapping up. It all ends with smiles, laughter, lots of yawns and a little sweet corn pudding.

Now that is in the Christmas spirit.

- Eric Smith, Age 13
St. Peters School, Washington D.C.

The Christmas Tree

We all know the history of Christmas trees, right? They are grown on land and then cut to be put in our living rooms. Then we decorate them.

If this is true, why is there a Christmas tree in the middle of Herring Bay?

This tree stands tall every year. On dark winter nights, it appears to grow out of the water. But really it sits on a floating dock.

In 1983, Ed Becke cut a 24-foot cedar and rowed 900 feet in the icy December water to the floating platform. He secured the tree against the wind. Then he and his helpers draped it with strands of lights.

Becke put up the first tree for an old friend, sick with cancer. As the tree came alive with light, the friend and his wife stared from their Bay-view living room, amazed.

Now every year, all of Fairhaven waits for the tree to shine.

Ariel Brumbaugh, 13
St. Anne's School, Annapolis

A Brewer Christmas

A Fairhaven Christmas tradition is singing around a bonfire on the beach. We drink hot chocolate and roast marshmallows. We get together with neighbors young and old, to get into the Christmas spirit.

Mary Brewer, Age 9

Every year, around Christmas time, we walk the neighborhood, singing Christmas carols with our friends. But one year it was very cold and everyone decided to have hot cider and hot chocolate at a friend's house. And that became a Fairhaven tradition.

Sarah Brewer, Age 11
Fairhaven School, Upper Marlboro

| Issue 51 |

Volume VII Number 51
December 23-29, 1999
New Bay Times

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