The Rocket Flame

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Winter Skincare

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Winter Skincare

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When you step outside into the cold, dry air, you can suddenly feel its chilling effect on your skin. The winter’s cold air has little moisture compared to the rest of the year; therefore, it’s important to not forget to give the gift of moisturizer and other products to your skin this season.

 

As the weather gets colder and your skin starts to attempt to adjust, you may notice some changes in your skin. Altering your daily skincare routine may be needed in order to get your skin back to its natural healthy glow.

 

“I have a charcoal face wash that I wash my face with every day at both morning and night,” said Gwenhvier Hunt (12).”Then, I use witch-hazel as a toner and a Neutrogena spot treatment. Lastly, I use rose water to hydrate.”

 

Your skin has its own personality, so daily routines may vary depending on whether your skin is naturally dry or oily. However, seasonal change also causes your skin to adjust. With the cold and dry air, your skin may start to dry up, peel or become red and itchy.

 

“My skin gets really dry and breaks out more than normal in the winter time,” said Mallory Peck (11). “I make sure I cut down on how often I wash my face because the air is already dry enough, and I make sure I apply extra lotion so it stays hydrated.”

 

Your hands are also more prone to become dry and crack open. Carrying around a small bottle of lotion may be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing splitting skin.

 

There are many products that can help ease the pain and inconvenience of dry skin or even just make your skin look and feel more healthy.

 

“I really like witch-hazel because it’s the most natural toner that you can get,” said Hunt. “Also, it just really works.”

 

Also, even though Christmas cookies and candy are a must around Christmas, what you eat and drink could also have a pretty big impact on your skin’s health this season.

 

“I definitely know what I eat affects my skin,” said Peck. “Cutting down on the sugar does wonders for me.”

 

The skin is the biggest organ of the body. It covers your whole body from head to toe. It protects your other organs from harm and also helps regulate your body temperature. That being said, taking care of your skin this winter season is like a thank you for all that it does for you.

 

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How to Beat the Winter Blues

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How to Beat the Winter Blues

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The official winter months are heading our way. On Friday, Dec. 21, the mark of winter will be upon us. For many, this means hibernating in the warmth of our houses to avoid the cold chilly air, or the opposite for the snow lovers who can’t wait for snowfall. If you’re that certain person who prefers to hibernate in the winter, I am here to give you some ideas to beat those so called winter blues.

Hot Cocoa

A staple item for the winter is hot chocolate, the creamy smoothness of the chocolate after a fun day in the cold of building a snowman will warm you up. This drink is a favorite for many children and adults at heart. There are several ways to make this decadent drink. The simplest way would be to go to your local grocery store and pick up some hot cocoa mix powder, and either make it with hot milk or water. If you’re lucky, some of the packets come with mini marshmallows, but if not available, you can always pick up a bag. Another way would be to make the hot chocolate homemade, you can find a recipe for this drink here. I hope that hot cocoa warms you up from the cold winter days!

Christmas Movies

Ho! Ho! Ho! Is that Santa Claus coming? Oh wait, no, that’s just a Christmas movie playing. Nothing beats a nice relaxed evening, snuggled by the fire, watching a movie filled with Christmas joy. Some classic Christmas movies are Elf, The Grinch Stole Christmas, or The Polar Express. No matter the movie you choose, they are all great movies that will give you a laugh to beat those winter blues.  If you do not have any holiday movies handy, do not fret, the Hallmark channel is a great go to. In fact, the Hallmark channel is so dedicated to Christmas that they have a schedule online that can be found here.  Snuggle up, enjoy some hot cocoa, and let the film role.

Cookies for Santa

It’s not Christmas without ensuring that there are cookies made for Santa. Baking a dozen cookies or so won’t hurt, except maybe if you eat too many. In this day in age, there are thousands of cookie recipes that can be found on the internet, in magazines, or in cookbooks. If you need some ideas visit BettyCrocker.com that shows some of the 51 best Christmas cookie recipes. A classic Christmas cookie would have to be cut-out sugar cookies that can be made into silhouettes representing the holidays from snowflakes to reindeer. Whether you want to buy store-bought cookie dough or make it from scratch is entirely up to you, but either way they are going to be scrumptious. P.S. don’t forget to save some for Santa!

Have you heard of the gingerbread man?

You have seen the gingerbread house fails all over social media of the caved in roofs, the missing walls, and the gingerbread man missing a head. Sounds fun, right? But why not give it a try and get into the holiday spirit. If you are up for a challenge, you can try making a homemade gingerbread house with a recipe, but let’s be real, who actually makes their own gingerbread house from scratch when it’s just gonna get destroyed? So go to your local grocery store, pick out a gingerbread kit, and get started building. This may be the first time in your life that you can pretend to be a contractor. This also is a great thing to do with family members or friends. I wish you luck! Check out some amazing gingerbread houses here.

Last-Minute Shopping

I know the pain that comes with last minute shopping, as some people say “been there done that”, so to express this I wrote a little song about it.

Dashing through the mall

In a one coarse shopping cart

Through the stores we go

Crying all the way

Waah! Waah! Waah!

As reading or singing through the song, you can tell that last minute shopping is not for everyone, but it needs to be done. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, I would say it’s time to strap on those snow boots and wool jacket to head to the stores. If you’re struggling with some gift ideas, it’s always good to consult the internet before going. According to target, here are some lists of gifts that are great options. Good luck with the holiday crowd!

Whitetail Ski Resort

If you are a fairly active person or would like to pick up a new hobby this winter, Whitetail Ski Resort is now open for the season. The cold weather means that it’s snow blowing time for the ski resort to kick into full action and to take advantage of the freezing weather. Already know how to ski or snowboard? Great! Hit the slopes and have fun. Don’t know how to? Don’t worry, you can get lessons in either skiing or snowboarding for any age. If it’s not your thing, you can still take a gander up there to go tubing. Have questions or want more info, visit their website.

The winter blues dialing down, catch up with a friends or family by building a gingerbread house, watching a holiday movie, or baking some cookies.The winter months are upon us, bundle up, get cozy, and have a hot cocoa or two!

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Santa Tell Me, Are You Really There?

Preparing+for+an+eventful+holiday%2C+Cameron+Fleming+%2810%29%2C+Hailey+Embree+%2810%29%2C+and+Jordan+Small+%2810%29+admire+Mrs.+Stum%27s+%28Faculty%29+decorated+door.+
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Santa Tell Me, Are You Really There?

Preparing for an eventful holiday, Cameron Fleming (10), Hailey Embree (10), and Jordan Small (10) admire Mrs. Stum's (Faculty) decorated door.

Preparing for an eventful holiday, Cameron Fleming (10), Hailey Embree (10), and Jordan Small (10) admire Mrs. Stum's (Faculty) decorated door.

Preparing for an eventful holiday, Cameron Fleming (10), Hailey Embree (10), and Jordan Small (10) admire Mrs. Stum's (Faculty) decorated door.

Preparing for an eventful holiday, Cameron Fleming (10), Hailey Embree (10), and Jordan Small (10) admire Mrs. Stum's (Faculty) decorated door.

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As children, we all got excited for the time of the year when Santa Claus came to town. We wrote letters telling him what presents we wanted and we set out homemade cookies along with fresh milk to energize him for his long journey ahead. On Christmas morning, we ran to the tree to see what toys awaited us and dreaded getting any clothes or shoes. Now, as we mature into teenagers, we see the old Santa Claus story to be childish, silly, and we find ourselves wanting the things we used to hate receiving as kids.

The community at James Buchanan has been seeing changes in their attitudes during the holiday season. Growing up and becoming an individual has made them alter what gifts they would like to receive on Christmas morning.

“Childhood [gifts] were more like games, toys,” said Rylynn Welsh (9).  “Now it’s just more like clothing.”

Waking up on Christmas morning at a younger age was one of the most exciting parts of the holidays for some students. Adrenaline and excitement flowed through them as they raced to their parents’ bedroom to tell them that Santa had come last night.

“When I was a kid, I was always up at 5:30 in the morning and wanting to open presents right away,” said Welsh.

While we reminisce in the good times we witnessed when we were little, we may notice Christmas becoming a less wholesome time. This may be due to us being more invested in ourselves and paying less attention to those around us.

“It’s [Christmas] not like, ‘Oh my gosh, Santa came last night,’” said Hunter Smith (10). “It’s more like, ‘I got presents and these are for me.’”

As teenagers undergo transitions into adulthood, it may seem like old morals established as children have diminished. But other students at James Buchanan feel that the values they hold during Christmas have not changed at all throughout their life.

“It’s not all about presents, it’s about being with your family,” said Smith, “so I don’t really find it [Christmas] more or less exciting than before.”

Although the holiday season may be slightly different from previous years, we can still enable it to be a special time to come together with your family and exchange gifts out of gratitude. We can still remember the good times from past Christmases and help us to have better Christmases in the near future.

“Waking up and seeing all the cookies eaten and a half-drank glass of milk,” said Smith referring to his childhood during Christmas.

As a school community, we may notice things in our lives changing slightly as the years go by, especially during this time of year. Students think that we are able to use these changes to our advantage and make every Christmas as cheerful as we can.

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15 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

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15 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

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Trees are being lit, cookies are being made, and presents are being wrapped. Christmas is fast approaching and the countdown to the big day is getting closer and closer. As you realize that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, you may find yourself still missing that perfect gift.

 

“I have so many gifts to still buy,” said Lexi Palmer (9), “It’s so hard to find the perfect gift sometimes.”

 

The Holidays can be expensive, from buying presents for secret santas to all of your family members, the only thing you may want to do is just save a buck.

 

“I especially like to shop at TJ Maxx and Target because you can find good deals,” said Bri Cole (10).

1.Monogrammed mug filled with sweets – $8 

2. Fun Facemasks – $4

3. Succulents – $12

4. Festive Socks – $5 

5. Watches – $15

6. Inspirational Wooden Signs – $15

7.  Local Gift Basket – $15 Bobbie’s Gifts, 11 W Seminary St, Mercersburg, PA 17236

8.  Cosmetics

9. Letter boards – $15

10. Records – $10-$20

11. Wireless Phone Charger for IPhone 8, 8  Plus, and X – $10-$20

12. Lotion

13. Scented Candles

14. Gift Cards

15. Cable Bites – $8

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The 6th Annual “Festival Of Lights”

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The 6th Annual “Festival Of Lights”

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10 Ways To Make Your Christmas Season Sleigh

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10 Ways To Make Your Christmas Season Sleigh

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After all the turkey and stuffing is gone, and 95.1 immediately begins playing Christmas music, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit. You can finally crank up “Jingle Bells” and decorate your tree with no judgment of celebrating “too early.” There are many little things you can do to make your Christmas season as festive as possible.

 

Hershey Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA is a 2-mile drive through about 600 different displays of animated Christmas lights. As you drive through the winding  path, you can tune your radio to the special station that corresponds to the dancing and twinkling lights.

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Hershey’s Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA.

Another way to enjoy the Christmas season is to take advantage of the deals when it comes to holiday shopping. Many stores have special promotions going on for buying lots of gifts. Malls and stores are decorated for the season and luring shoppers in with their sales and festive music. Locally, many people go to the Valley Mall or the Hagerstown Premium Outlets to do their holiday shopping.

 

Immediately after Thanksgiving, the upbeat and happy Christmas music begins to play which makes it obvious that it’s time for the holidays and to celebrate. Listening to Christmas music is a central idea in the holiday season.

 

“Listening to Christmas songs makes me enjoy this season so much because it just warms my heart how happy everyone gets,” said Lizzie Pittman (12).

 

One prominent thing in the holidays is shopping for a Christmas tree. Picking out a live Christmas tree is a unique experience when it comes to just getting an artificial tree out of a box every year.

 

“Finding the perfect Christmas tree with my family really puts me in the holiday spirit,” said Nathan Walls (12).

 

Another idea is ice skating. Locally, you can go to the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex and lace up a pair of ice skates. Admission is $5.00 and skate rental is $2.00.

 

“I really enjoyed going  ice skating my first time”, said Marlee Barry (12), “I liked it so much I actually once thought about taking lessons”.

 

Many locals in our area also spend time at Whitetail Ski Resort throughout the winter season, whether it’s time spent working, skiing, snowboarding or tubing. Whitetail has not yet opened for the season but will soon begin making snow for lots of skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.

 

Around this time is when many family members and friends give and receive gifts from one another. Many people participate in “Secret Santa” gift exchanges. Names are drawn out and you must get a gift for that person and keep it a secret until you exchange gifts.

 

“Secret Santa is a great way to celebrate the holiday because of the suspense and excitement it creates by not knowing who is surprising you”, said Emily Gipe (12).

 

Student Council also holds the annual Food Drive for the holiday season where students can bring in non-perishable canned goods to donate to families in need. The competition that takes place between the homerooms to win the prize gets lots of students participating.

 

There are also many other ways to donate back to the community during the holidays. Many “Toys for Tots” boxes and local shelters and organizations are in need of donations.

 

“We should all aspire to help others because helping other should be a part of your life,” said Mallory Peck (11). “Seeing someone else happy and know you were able to make that happen in some sort of way is one of the best feelings.”

 

Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies are another way add to the holiday season. Many people bake treats to share with friends and family as a miniature present and a way to enjoy each other.

 

“My family always has a cookie bake day where we all get together at my great aunt’s house to eat lunch, bake cut out cookies, make a craft, and just have a good time in everyone’s company,” said Elena McNulty (11).

 

Memories and traditions made this time of year become annual and a special part of many people’s Christmas.

 

“My favorite tradition is playing Hershey Kiss Oven Mitt Relay Race at my Nana’s house after dinner,” said Harley Rife (12). “We put on oven mitts and try to unwrap a Hershey Kiss. When everyone on your team unwraps their candy, they get to open gifts first and also receive a mystery gift.”

 

When it’s time to relax by the Christmas tree, make sure you include watching lots of Christmas movies. This time of year, many TV channels and apps like Netflix have a wide selection of Christmas movies to enjoy with your families. Some movies to watch on Netflix are How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Princess Switch, The Christmas Chronicles, and A Christmas Prince.

 

“All my family watches Hallmark Christmas movies the entire day of Christmas Eve in our matching pj’s and then we make home made cookies for the younger ones to put out for Santa,” said Kali Rotharmel (12).

 

Many memories can be made and fun can be had while doing activities during Christmas. You can spend time enjoying the weather and seasonal activities, but always remember the real reason for the season and what it means to you.

 

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Cans Donated, Toys Collected

Encouraging+fellow+classmates%2C+Claire+Kriner+%2811%29+and+Timothy+Helman+%289%29+get+excited+for+the+holiday+season.+
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Cans Donated, Toys Collected

Encouraging fellow classmates, Claire Kriner (11) and Timothy Helman (9) get excited for the holiday season.

Encouraging fellow classmates, Claire Kriner (11) and Timothy Helman (9) get excited for the holiday season.

Encouraging fellow classmates, Claire Kriner (11) and Timothy Helman (9) get excited for the holiday season.

Encouraging fellow classmates, Claire Kriner (11) and Timothy Helman (9) get excited for the holiday season.

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The holidays are thought to be a time with big family dinners, buying and receiving gifts, and getting a little extra money added to your paycheck. The streets are filled with string lights and cheer all throughout the final months of the year. This might be your view of this season, but less fortunate families may not see it the exact same way. They might see it as the more stressful time of year and may find it difficult to make ends meet. Have you ever thought about how you could bring holiday joy to these families’ lives?

The James Buchanan student body has been outwardly striving to help families in need during this Christmas season. These attempts have included food drives with canned goods and toy collections. Certain students feel that, by doing these things, it not only helps other people, but it can also join everyone together as a school.

“When we help each other out, it just connects our school more closely together…” said Claire Kriner (11).

Student Council began the canned food and toy collection on Nov. 28 and is continuing it throughout the month of December. Boxes wrapped in festive wrapping paper were placed inside of classrooms to collect these items.

A donation box is placed inside of Miss May’s (Faculty) homeroom in preparation of the food and toy drive.

“We get donations from businesses sometimes, but we want to encourage lots of your classmates to donate food so we can have enough food for people,” said Meredith Iverson (10), “because it benefits people in this school district.”

In order to motivate students to donate items, Student Council has come up with an idea that allows homerooms to compete for points. Getting points depends on how many and what kinds of objects each homeroom provides for less fortunate families. The homeroom that receives the most points wins the competition.

Outside of the art room, Lizzie Pittman (12) contributes items to her homeroom’s donation box.

“It’s a way that our school can give items to families in need that might not have everything.” said Kriner.

Members of the student body feel it is a moral obligation for them to make Christmas a happier time for other people who may struggle during the holidays. They also want to encourage others to realize that Christmas is not just about receiving gifts.

“I just want to get a stronger sense of positivity because I know that not many people in our school think about this stuff,” said Bella Shupp (10), “They don’t think about people that are struggling, so I think this will really help everyone in the school see that Christmas is about more than just getting stuff for yourself.”

During the holiday season this year, James Buchanan has been making efforts to focus less on themselves and more so on families that may struggle in providing necessary items or affording gifts for their children. Students believe that they can make a positive change in the community if they work together as a school.

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A Merry Mercersburg Christmas

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A Merry Mercersburg Christmas

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It’s the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year, and the decorations around town show it. Wreaths are hanging off parking meters, the light poles are draped in garland, and local businesses adorn various ensembles of decorations. The staple of Mercersburg’s festive spirit is located in the square, and it stands tall with sparkling lights and ornaments: the Christmas tree.

On Nov. 24, the Tuscarora Area Chamber of Commerce held a Merry Mercersburg Tree Lighting from 4-7pm. Many

Celebrating their first birthday, One North gave out free cake to their customers in flavors vanilla, chocolate, and ginger.

businesses came together to generate a festive atmosphere.

A center of the evening’s events revolved around the local coffee shop, One North. The fairly new business celebrated

their first birthday on Nov. 24. To any customer who stopped by, there was a free slice of birthday cake. Also, there was free coffee and hot chocolate being offered outside to anyone attending the lighting. For the children, Christmas crafts were available in the shop.

For One North, this one-year journey has been full of a lot of changes and progress.

“The entire store has grown and improved very rapidly. Just recently we tore down a wall and put in a bakery case, literally overnight, to display our talented baker’s hard work and efforts,” said Logan Williams (12), who works at One North.

The coffee shop is still working on how to improve their business.  

Some businesses gave out free goodies during the Merry Mercersburg Tree Lighting. Shay Fisher (12) enjoys free milk and cookies from Agronomy Inc.

“I foresee us being open on Monday every week rather than being closed,” said Williams.  “People enjoy being there and want to spend as much time there as they can.”

While Christmas music played throughout the square, several vendors gathered to offer their goods up. Agronomy Inc. gave away free cookies and milk for people to munch on as they shopped around. Other businesses were also attending, such as Snider’s Elevator.

The Rocket Band was also a vendor, selling baked goods to raise money to give to the Music Boosters.

“We are here supporting the JB Music Boosters to help raise money for everything we need for our indoor program,” said Lauren Ramsey (10). “There’s a lot of things parents do to raise money that not a lot of people know about, so I like to come out and help with that.”

Raising money for the Music Boosters, Lauren Ramsey (10) and Hannah Hicks (7) sell baked goods.

The band had sold a lot of goods, as a lot of people turned out to show their support.

“There’s been a lot of people coming by, buying whole things (baked goods) and using them for parties and other things

like that,” said Ramsey.

At 6 o’clock, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus made an appearance. After riding in on a fire truck from Mercersburg Volunteer

Fire Department, they stopped by to take photos with kids and those young at heart.

The Mercersburg tree was lit at 6:30 pm on the square.

Then, at 6:30, the tree was lit. After a speech was given, the many people attending the lighting gathered around to countdown for the tree. This year’s tree was donated by M&T Bank and stands tall in front of the business on the square.

The last event of the night was held at the Star Theatre. It’s A Wonderful Life was played for free. Along with the movie, free popcorn, drinks, and candy were given out. The movie was sponsored by the Mercersburg Academy. The star of the Christmas classic, Jimmy Stewart, was a Mercersburg Academy graduate.

It’s just the end of November, but Christmas cheer is already being spread throughout Mercersburg. The lighting of the Christmas tree on Nov. 24 was not just that, but it was also an event filled with giving from local businesses and holiday festivities.

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Seasons Greetings from Japan

The Story of Christmas in the Land of the Rising Sun

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Seasons Greetings from Japan

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With the holiday rush in full swing, it’s hard to make time for relaxation. When taking a step back from the Christmas chaos, people may begin to think about how to escape the craziness. Why not run off to Japan? It wouldn’t seem like a candidate for causing holiday insanity, but as it would stand, they’ve even got their own Christmas traditions, too.

 

Buddhist monks, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and fantastic light shows are all great things, but aren’t quite the “merriment and Christmas traditions” most households have in mind.

 

In Japan, only about 1% of the entire population is Christian, so the practice had not been an established holiday for very long. According to Muza-chan, it was not until 1552 when Christmas was first practiced. At that point, Christmas was practiced very traditionally, but with slight alterations to the ornaments on their trees adapting to Japanese culture.

 

By 1635, Muza-chan notes, the practice had been banned by Japanese authority under the Sudoku Edict, a ban placed against all things Christian.

 

In 1875, Christmas time made a non-religious resurgence thanks to yuletide stories like Santakuro, which taught children of Santa Claus, and his jolly gift-giving nature. According to Muza-chan, other tales of Old Chris Cringle depicted him as a brave samurai and even the monk god of contentment, Hotei.

 

Over time, Hotei evolved into Hoteiosho, the Japanese Santa Claus. He is described as a jolly and round monk, who gives presents to children who have been good that year. It is also said that Hoteiosho has eyes on the back of his head, making him able to see if the children have been bad or good.

 

Now, Christmas in Japan is bigger than ever, although many of the traditions practiced in the U.S. don’t fly overseas.

 

To start, Christmas is seen as a couple’s holiday, much like Valentine’s Day, and is often celebrated by young partners and newlyweds as a day to appreciate having each other. Couples commonly give each other gifts and go on dates to celebrate the season of cheer.

 

As for children and parents, the holiday is more similar to Christmas in the U.S. than for couples. In Japan, the holiday is spent at home with family, everyone opens presents from under the tree. Often times friends and extended family will visit for Christmas dinner.

 

Christmas dinner in Japan does not include the traditional prime cuts of roasted ham, beef, goose, or turkey. There are no pies, plum puddings, or Christmas cookies, either. Instead, approximately 3.6 million people flock to KFC, according to Eric Barton’s article for the BBC. The rush is so great that many people order weeks in advance to avoid waiting in line for hours.

 

KFC for Christmas started off as a discount party barrel as well as Colonel Sanders dressed as Colonel Santa, but over time it changed into a family-sized package of fried chicken, wine, and cakes. For extra fees, the meal can be upgraded to a premium edition, with an entire roast chicken and sides.

 

Aside from Christmas dinner, many holiday-themed treats and collectibles are made just for the season of giving.

 

The most common treats are Christmas cakes; small sponge cakes decorated with candy scenes of Santa Claus. The cakes are decorated in a similar manner to gingerbread houses and are put on display like gingerbread houses like them as well.

 

Other Christmas treats include seasonal mochi: small rolls of semi-firm bean paste that are sweetened and powdered then decorated to look like Santa Claus and other mascots. Thematic bento boxes are organized meals that usually consist of sushi, sashimi, tempura, rice, and soy sauce. During the holidays, many bento boxes are made to look like Christmas trees as well as other symbols of the holidays.

 

There are also many practices taken to spread merriment, but the biggest of all are illuminations, massive light shows that are synchronized and worked on for months prior.

 

The largest of the illuminations is in the Tokyo Skytree Town, which has the tallest Christmas tree in the world. The illuminations last from Dec 1 to Dec 25.

 

From monks to light shows, Christmas in Japan is as unique and chaotic as Christmas in the US. Still yet, many people partake in the merriment and cheer of the season, in one way or another.

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Orchestra Welcomes the Christmas season with a “Cello”

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Orchestra Welcomes the Christmas season with a “Cello”

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After all of the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes have been eaten, all the pumpkins are carved and the leaves are done falling and changing colors, with all of these signs, we know a new season is quickly approaching: Christmas time! However, this is old news for the James Buchanan High School Orchestra.

 

Director Mrs. Sheryl Dieke (Faculty), and the Rocket Orchestra have been preparing for the Christmas season since the beginning of this school year. In September, the students received some of the selections of music that could be featured in the Christmas concert.

 

The orchestra’s Christmas Concert will take place in the high school auditorium on Dec. 16 at 3:00 p.m.

 

From the time the Orchestra received the music, they have worked and practiced every day during second period to perfect it.

 

“They just have a lot of basics under control” said Dieke. “They sight read phenomenally and understand key signatures very well.”

 

All violins, violas, cellos and bass must break the music down measure by measure with their sections to play their parts in the music successfully to be prepared to perform it for the concert. Each instrument plays an essential role in the orchestra because they all bring the piece of music together with their various parts.

 

“Being that we have put it into a classroom situation where we’re practicing every day, rather than hit and miss during an activity period, the only direction to go is up,!” said Dieke. “And the students prove that every day!”

 

Megan Hoffeditz (12), the Orchestra’s only viola player, has been playing since the fourth grade. She believes practicing is a crucial. She has also learned what it takes to get through difficult pieces and to succeed as the only viola.

 

“Just sitting down, playing through it really slow, working out the notes and then speeding it up as time goes on,” helps her explained Hoffeditz.

 

During second period, the students have been working on a variety of songs including “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Babes in Toyland,” “Ukrainian Fantasy,” “Sleep, Holy Babe,” and “The Christmas Waltz.” Practice is important to the orchestra, because they want to make sure everyone is able to play their part.

 

Lana Donahue (12) has been playing the violin for 8 and 1/2 years. She is first chair violin in the orchestra. She has learned what tips and tricks it takes for her to overcome difficult parts in the music.

 

“I play by ear so I mostly search the music online.” said Donahue. “Then I listen to it and I go home and I can just put earphones in and I just play the music by itself.”

 

There are also students who work on the music during their own time because they didn’t have enough room in their schedule to fit in Orchestra throughout the day. For the concert, both groups come together to play.

 

With a variety of music pieces comes a variety of difficulty. Pieces are rated for difficulty by grades. The grades range from 1-7, with 1 being the least and 7 the most difficult. The highest grade the Orchestra will be playing is a grade 4 piece called “Wizards in Winter.” The piece is by Paul O’Neill and Robert Kinkel and arranged by Bob Phillips. The song has many sixteenth notes and changes fastly from playing “arco,” or with your bow, to “pizzicato,” or plucking the strings with your fingers.

 

“Lots of things are happening layer on layer which is really cool,” said Dieke. “The tempo, the sixteenth-note runs, and all the little intricate pieces that are in there.”

 

“Wizards in Winter” will be the Orchestra’s closing piece. However, the group seems to have some tricks up their sleeves to intensify the closing song: the closing piece will also feature a light show.

 

The light show will be put together by Claire Alfree (12) and Hannah Mellott (12). Both Alfree and Mellott are in Sound and Lighting, taught by Mr. Eric Poe (Faculty). The girls are working on using their skills that they have learned from the class to make the lights “dance” with the rhythm of the music. They plan to make the song more intriguing to the audience and do something out of the ordinary.

 

Students know there are some things to still work out before the show. However, they have confidence they will perform nicely at the concert.

 

Hoffeditz says, “I feel we will do pretty well. We have a lot of solid songs so far.”

 

Although, the orchestra has shrunken in size over the last couple of years the director has no fear that the orchestra will be nothing but successful for their Christmas performance.

 

“The kids are great and have worked very hard,” said Dieke. “It will be magnificent! It will be a great concert!”

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