Kickin’ back

DM staff reflect on holiday traditions


Courtesy of Mrs. Elliot

Mrs. Elliot playing Battleship on Battleship Mountain. “Every year on New Year’s Day” Mrs Elliot spends her day doing a “13-mile hike deep within the Superstitions to summit Battleship Mountain.”

Brianne Chareau, Staff Writer

Oyster stew. Hiking. Nutcrackers.

What do all have in common?

These are holiday traditions of some of DM’s very own teachers.

Because many traditions are passed down through generations, these have become staples in homes, especially during the holidays.

Often, traditions are unique to whomever follows them, growing and changing with people as they adapt to an ever changing world and life.

Despite some changes, many traditions have lasted for lifetimes or even generations, with no signs of ceasing.

Here is an insight into some of the traditions our beloved teachers and staff here at DM have decided to share with us.

Oyster stew and metal bells

Mrs. Fisher has a tradition to enjoy oyster stew for Christmas Eve dinner. In fact, it’s ingrained in her as one of her first memories.

I had to work at loving it,” she said, but now she voluntarily eats oyster stew for her Christmas Eve dinner every year.

Here in Arizona, Mrs. Fisher says has to use canned oysters, “not the fresh ones I grew up with in Maine.”

Also, Mrs. Fisher carries on another tradition from her childhood: she hangs metal bells on her Christmas tree.

“A Christmas tree with out a bell that actually rings is a sad thing,” she said.

Gathering family together

Performing arts teacher Ms. Moore gathers her family all together every year.

This is no easy task, Ms. Moore said, seeing as she has family across three different states on both coasts of the country.

Ms. Moore says she finds it “important for us to spend time together.”

Scaling Battleship Mountain

English teacher Mrs. Elliott climbs Battleship Mountain, within the Superstition mountain range, every New Year’s Day.

Many others simply view mountains’ peaks and admire them, but Mrs. Elliott actually scales one.

The route takes Mrs. Elliott 13 miles deep into the mountain range, making this not an easy journey.

For Mrs. Elliott and her husband, conquering this is an amazing experience.

“We love the thrill of it and find ourselves taking that risk every year,” she said.

But it’s not all work and toil.

“I’ve been known to bring the game of Battleship to play a game once we reach the summit,” she said.

Mrs. Elliott has scaled Battleship Mountain five times, and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. 

Collecting nutcrackers

English teacher Ms. Martinez’s family collects nutcrackers every year.

Every year while growing up, Ms. Martinez, her parents and her brother would search for a new nutcracker to add to their collection. They have more than 30 nutcrackers around their home.

Ms. Martinez even has continued this tradition with her boyfriend, and they’ve collected 6 together—one for each year they have lived in Arizona.

“I love it,” she said “and I look forward to someday taking my kids out as a family to pick out that year’s nutcracker.”

White elephant, and driving around to view others’ holiday decor

English teacher Mrs. Walters and her husband drive around every Christmas Eve, admiring all the lights and decorations people have placed.

Mrs. Walters also participates in a white elephant gift exchange every year.

She says she has quite a collection of “a lot of those silly ‘As Seen on TV’ products and gag gifts as a result.”

But even the most longstanding traditions were invented sometime in the past, and so Mrs. Walters says it’s always fine to create your own.

“Traditions don’t always have to be passed down from older generations;” she said. “Making memories in the present counts, too—whatever brings you joy!”