Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


AMHS Students Deck the Halls

How do you celebrate the holidays?

Tis the season! As the air gets colder, many Raptors’ homes get warmer with the promise of presents and time with loved ones just around the corner. With the holidays approaching, I asked some students how they spend the season of giving. 

Billy Baer (10)

Billy’s family likes to spread out the holiday celebration across Christmas eve and Christmas day. On Christmas eve, each member of the family gets to open one present in advance to amp up the anticipation for the next morning. The morning of, each of the Baer siblings takes a turn reading the story of the nativity and the birth of Jesus. Last year it was their older sister, Sarah’s turn, and Billy says he is excited to find out who gets to do it this year. After some family time, the four siblings all dig into their presents. Sounds like some wholesome family fun!

Coltrane Margosian (12)

Coltrane is a secular Jew, but his family still lights the Menorah occasionally on Hanukkah. His biggest holiday tradition is ordering Chinese food and eating it with his family on Christmas day. Sounds delicious!

Evie Walldorf (11)

Evie’s family gets in the festive spirit by wearing matching Christmas pajamas. She is especially excited for this year’s as they are from Everjay, her favorite PJ brand. The family spends time in their new cozy fits by baking Christmas cookies for their neighbors. She spends Christmas day in Charleston, but around the holiday she goes to visit her extended family in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Evie’s favorite part of the season is Christmas movies, and while she refused to name a favorite, she says The Grinch is in the top three. She notes that she does not mean the live action one, because that one is “scary.” The realistic Grinch kind of freaks me out too, but the best Christmas movie is obviously Christmas Vacation, so this is a bad take. For anyone wanting some holiday inspo, this year’s Walldorf family pajamas are featured below.

Evie’s cozy new PJs

I love Christmas movies.

— Evie Walldorf

Zadie Hawk (10)

Zadie’s family takes a chillaxed approach to the holiday season by watching Die Hard (a classic and arguably the second best Christmas movie) and eating cereal. 

Madeline Moye (10)

Madeline’s family does a twist on a classic with family french toast casserole on Christmas morning. Personally, I do not understand the science behind transforming french toast into a casserole, but it sounds delicious. I might have to look up a recipe.

Lindsey Griffin (11)

The Griffin family embraces their foodie side during the holiday season by eating ham on Christmas eve and coffee cake on Christmas day. She wants it noted that the coffee cake is imported from New Jersey and they only have it once a year. Her grandparents bring it with them when they come to visit. While the family is in town, Lindsey and her brother, Carter, serenade the family: Lindsey on the guitar and Carter on the cowbell. They love to play holiday tunes! Carter is a past AMHS alumni who now attends Wake Forest, and Lindsey is excited as this year is the start of a new tradition as Carter returns home from college for the first time. 

Adi Katan (11)

Adi mostly celebrates Hanukkah with a hint of Christmas. His mom was born and raised Christian, but converted to Judaism, but they still incorporate a few non religious Christmas elements into their holiday celebrations. His family alternates between going to the synagogue and going to friend’s houses to celebrate with them throughout the eight days of Hanukkah. In terms of food, they prepare latkes, which are like fried potato pancakes. Jelly donuts are another big favorite of his. His family also goes to Hannukah in the Square, the largest annual Jewish celebration in South Carolina, which takes place this Sunday (December 10th) in Marion Square.

Nate Aaron (10)

Nate tells me that he celebrates the holidays by having family dinner (awww) not once, but twice. They have a meal celebrating first Hanukkah and then Christmas. Nate comes from both a Jewish and Christian family, and instead of picking one over the other, they opted for double the fun.

Nico Pienda (10)

Nico’s extended family uses the holidays as an excuse for a beach trip. His family comes down from all over the country, from Connecticut to California. They throw a party at his house and all of the cousins squeeze in to stay the night. Together, they go on a beach walk and visit the Festival of Lights. Both are great family attractions during the holiday season, so anyone wanting to start some new family holiday traditions should take a page out of Nico’s book. 

Charlie Zaifert (12)

Charlie is Jewish, but she still loves to get in the secular Christmas spirit! Her mom loves Christmas decorations, so they hang wreaths and stockings around her house. The other half of Charlie’s dynamic duo, Piper, has even earned her own on the fireplace. Her family traditionally lights their silver Menorah on a place of honor on the kitchen counter. This year, Charlie is starting a new tradition with me by going to Hanukkah in the Square this Sunday. The festival includes live entertainment, free food, and children’s activities, and I am definitely excited.

Caitlyn Farr (10)

Caitlyn celebrates the holidays with her entire family at church on Christmas eve; cousins and grandparents included! At this service they light candles and then they all come home for dinner. The good ole fashioned family fun does not stop there, however, as they then work together to prepare a Christmas eve dinner using traditional family recipes. After dinner, the kids all watch a movie together. Caitlyn’s family knows what the holidays are all about! (Food.)

Sophia Benich (11)

Sophia’s family gets so into the holiday spirit that they have not one, but two Christmas trees! You know what they say, the more the merrier!


Whether you celebrate any December holidays or not, the final month of 2023 is a great time to spend time with family and bundle up to look at the pretty lights before the New Year. Have a safe and happy break Raptors!

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