It's The Holiday Season!

Issue 6 - AIS Winter Holiday Newsletter - 2022-2023

Holiday Happenings

By Margot Morgan

Are you looking for something fun to do with your family to celebrate the holiday season? Here are some fun ideas for you! You can go see a holiday light show, a holiday play/musical/concert, or even just watch a holiday movie with your family!

Winter Holiday Lights Shows:

Winter Holiday Shows:

Winter Holiday Movies:

Information from: The Ultimate Guide to Holidays in Austin 

Winter Holiday Traditions

By Gisele Turman

Do you want a family winter tradition? Well, look no further! Here is one of my favorite family winter traditions. These traditions are a unique and fun way to spend time with family this time of year. We relish the holiday spirit and finally have lasting holiday memories this time of year. For those who celebrate Christmas, when decorating the tree, unique ornaments are such a fun part of making your tree stand out.

When the holiday season rolls around, there are many traditions to fulfill every year especially because there are different celebrations. I celebrate Christmas, so this tradition is more on the Christmas side. Decorating the tree as a family is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. This holiday is all about family and it is important to spend time with those closest to you.

For this tradition, you are going to need a Christmas tree, some art supplies, and of course, your family! You start by putting everyone's name in a jar and pick one by one a name from the bowl. Once the names are picked, and make sure not to tell anyone who you have, it's time to get out your art supplies and make a very special ornament that can express what you think that person would like. On Christmas Eve, you will reveal who you picked and give them their special ornament that has been given right from your heart! This makes the perfect family tradition and a way to celebrate the wonderful holiday spirit.

If you fulfill this tradition, you will have so many fun memories and stories to share and look back on as time goes by. It feels so good to have family memories that you will have forever. This brings your family closer together but make sure you keep who you have a secret! There are many ways to create different traditions that are the perfect fit for your family. 

Finally, spending time with family is one of my favorite things to do during the most wonderful time of the year and I hope you can enjoy it too. The holiday spirit is such a wonderful thing to celebrate. It is about selflessness and forgiveness. This is just one example of a family Christmas tradition that can become an important memory and always remember that anything this time of year can be a memory as long as you are with your family. If you love decorating your tree as much as I do, I think that this is a truly devoting way to fill your tree with unique ornaments that are important to you!

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas Cookie Recipe

By Hallie Cooper

Christmas is just around the corner, and with the hauling of toys to boys and girls all over the globe, Santa's sure to be hungry! Do you have a favorite cookie to bake for him and your friends? If not, here is a sugar cookie recipe that was submitted by my classmate, Gisele, and passed down through the generations from her grandmother. Let's start baking for the upcoming holidays!



Here are some extra links about how to bake the cookies if you're curious!

How to Cream the Butter and Sugar: Landolakes

Gift Ideas

 By Sam Burke

Are you in search of a breathtaking present to gift to a loved one? If you are, then we are here to help! No matter the age of the gift recipient, it's always a great idea to make sure you get the best present possible --- which is why this holiday season we are here to help do just that! But the best gifts come from the heart, so if you want to give a personal gift, handmade ones are some of the best out there. I know that whenever I am gifted a homemade present, it was made with love. So, no matter the size or price, every gift is amazing as long as it was picked out or made with care.

Click here to learn how to make a holiday gnome!

Holiday Traditions 'Round the World

by Ilan Freedman

All over the world, different holidays are observed shortly before the new year. Which holiday do you celebrate? Most Americans celebrate Christmas, while my family celebrates Hanukkah. Hanukkah is one of the many holiday traditions people celebrate around the holidays. I will discuss Christmas first, followed by Hanukkah and Las Posadas.

Christmas is probably the most celebrated holiday at this time of year. Many Christians decorate their trees with ornaments. They also put garlands on their mantles. Their little ones stay up to get a glimpse of Santa. Traditional dinner fare is similar to those eaten on Thanksgiving; turkey, stuffing, and so forth. The religious belief behind Christmas is the birth of Christ. Gift-giving is also ubiquitous. Christmas is always celebrated on the 25th of December each year. The Christians, you may know, stemmed from the Jewish people long ago.

On the contrary, the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah each year on varying dates aligned with the Jewish calendar. We celebrate this to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah. In this miracle, only enough oil was left to light the Temple for one night, but it lasted eight instead. The Jewish people attribute this to one of the miracles of God. For this reason, we celebrate Hanukkah for eight nights. We often decorate with blue and white menorahs, dreidels, and six-pointed stars, the Jewish Stars of David. We play with dreidels, a form of top, and we eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (traditional donuts).

There are countless other celebrations practiced in December by other religions. One holiday that interests me is Las Posadas. Las Posadas is Christian, but it is celebrated mainly in Mexico and Central America. It lasts nine days. The religious motive behind this holiday is to commemorate the search for lodging by Mary and Joseph on the night of Jesus’s birth. A procession often reenacts this. A feast, which consists of coffee, tamales, and the like, is eaten.

Now, I hope you know more about various holiday celebrations. I certainly have learned a lot, and maybe you have too. I have also discussed Christmas, which is the most celebrated December holiday. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Las Posadas, whichever you celebrate!

Works Cited

A Dash of Kindness in our Community

By Hallie Cooper and Sam Burke

We bet that being on top of your giving list this year is helping to spread good cheer. So, it only makes sense to do good deeds by helping those in need. Let us help guide you along your altruistic journey and soon you will be able to check this item off your list. The holidays are the time for giving, and it's best to give back to our community and help others in need around these chilly days. Ways to contribute goodwill this holiday season include: providing clothes, canned goods, and toys to charities.

In past years, AIS has been giving back to our community by organizing our own toy and food drive where students and parents can donate toys they don't use anymore or canned foods. There are also programs such as Hope for Christmas, where you can give to those who are less fortunate. The holidays are right around the corner, and providing practically anything brings joy to a person during the winter season.

Giving back to the community is essential, no matter what the time of the year. Whether it's the holidays or even the middle of summer, you can help your community by donating to charities or bringing canned and/or non-perishable foods to shelters and food drives. There are many community organizations you can donate to, such as Blue Santa. The Blue Santa organization is a group of police officers who can deliver your donations to families in need. You can also volunteer at Safe Austin where you can drop off donations and organize gifts.

Over the holidays, AIS has been helping families and their communities. AIS has raised over $1000 in meals, and one dollar equals four meals. Therefore, our school has helped to provide around 2000 meals. The school was also accepting toys and non-perishable or canned food items for donation. In the past, AIS has been able to raise $1500. AIS hopes to be able to reach its goal in the future and will continue to give back to the community as much as possible.

There are many charities to help those in need this holiday season. One is called the Brungot Farms company, where you can donate money for someone who can't afford a Christmas tree or meals. This is an amazing way to give back to not only your community but others all around America. It’s only $12 per meal and $12 per Christmas tree, but you can also donate higher amounts. You can find the website at Brungot Farms

There are many community organizations that you can visit to donate money and time to help others who otherwise would not be able to participate fully in the merriment of the season. You can visit the website Email Santa to learn more about different charities all over the world and how you can give back!

Our school has been doing our best these past few years and we’ve been able to provide many families with clothes, meals, toys, and many other items. By only donating a small amount of money, you can bring joy to someone’s holiday through a meal, clothes, food, toys, and even Christmas trees. December is the month of giving and there are many ways to give back and help your community now and in the future! 

Works Cited

Why is Hot Chocolate Important?

By Margot Morgan

Everyone knows that the best winter drink is hot chocolate. This drink is so ubiquitous that we should know more about it! Hot chocolate is common in many Christmas movies, as the official warm holiday drink, and is even an important historical drink across the world - but where did it originate? Why is it so popular this time of year? Hot cacao is a warm drink that is shared with family and friends during the winter holiday season that you should know all about.

This warm winter drink is featured in many holiday classic movies. Sip this velvety brew and you will be transported to memories of Judy, the hot chocolate girl from The Santa Clause, and the Hot Chocolate Song from the Polar Express,when the hot chocolate makers come singing and dancing through the boxcar and give out warm cups of hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate originated in Mexico, as early as 500 BCE, with the Mayas who would drink chocolate made from ground-up cocoa seeds and mixed with water and chili peppers. This chocolate drink was much more savory and spicy than it is now. In the early 1500s, Cortez brought this chocolate drink to Spain. After the drink gained popularity in Spain, the Spanish stopped adding spices and made it sweeter. When hot chocolate arrived in London in the 1700s, chocolate houses became very popular. In the late 1700s, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, Hans Sloane, brought from Jamaica a recipe for hot chocolate with milk. The Dutch invented hot chocolate cocoa powder in the 18th century. Hot chocolate can be found on menus all over the world, albeit with different names and preparations, for example, Spain's thick chocolate a la Taza, Latin America’s spiced chocolate para mesa, and Italy's thick cioccolata calda

Hot chocolate is very popular this time of year, because it warms you up, after a cold day in the snow, or on the slopes. The warm, fuzzy feeling you get after sipping is not just sheer coincidence, it is steeped in science. Endorphins in your brain give you a feeling of calm. Scientists also recently discovered that theobromine, a chemical found in cocoa, can block the cough reflex. Also, up until the 19th century, hot chocolate was used as a treatment for stomach and liver diseases. Did you know that drinking hot chocolate during the hot weather can improve our internal systems? It can warm you up, which causes you to sweat, and sweating is very important during cold weather. You’d think that with all of these reasons for drinking hot chocolate, people would drink it all year round, but hot chocolate is still mostly enjoyed in the winter months.

Hot chocolate is now a very popular drink because of all the holiday movies displaying this classic holiday chocolate drink, and mostly because it warms you up from the inside out. As you now know, hot chocolate doesn’t have a simple history. It is more complex than anyone truly knows; from the Mayas to the Spanish, and the English to the Jamaicans, this drink has a diverse history. Hot chocolate is the quintessential warm drink of wintertime. So, grab a cup and cozy up with friends and family this holiday season.

Works Cited