Family Christmas Traditions with Dr. Alberts and Mrs. Lorenzato 


The holiday season brings with it countless traditions that vary among countries and cultures.  Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world and has a unique meaning for each person and family that celebrates it.  Two faculty members from Sacred Heart Greenwich, Dr. Allison Alberts, Upper School English Teacher, and Mrs. Victoria Lorenzato, Middle School Campus Minister, Upper School Theology Teacher, and Lead Middle School Social Justice and Service Program, shared their holiday memories and favorite Christmas traditions.

Dr. Alberts’ children, Beau and Lucia, posing for a photo with Santa Claus. Courtesy of Dr. Alberts

Traditions promote positive emotional development in children and provide them with a sense of stability that can support them later in their lives, according to  Dr. Alberts feels that holiday traditions are a significant part of family life.  Looking back on her childhood, she remembers growing up with specific family Christmas traditions.
“Traditions are meaningful because they offer ways to spend time together as a family during the Christmas season,” Dr. Alberts said.  “My favorite traditions were “camping out” by the Christmas tree with my brother and sister, making cookies with my mom, and reading special Christmas stories that my mom only took out during Advent.”
For many Americans, holiday traditions involve cutting down and decorating a Christmas tree.  Dr. Alberts said that her family’s tree is a central part of their celebration.  She has two children with whom she enjoys sharing the holiday season: Beau, age 5, and Lucia who is 18 months old.
“We always chop down our own tree the day after Thanksgiving. Afterward, we drink eggnog and decorate,” Dr. Alberts said.  “With my babies, I sing Christmas carols to put them to sleep. I also like to read them the same Christmas stories I read when I was little.”  
In addition to the Christmas storybooks, Dr. Alberts has also passed down special holiday objects from when she was young to her children today. 
“Beau has the same nativity set in his room that I had as a child and we play with all the little pieces together and talk about the Christmas story,” Dr. Alberts said.
Similar to Dr. Alberts, Mrs. Lorenzato, also remembers celebrating the holidays with friends and family.  She has special memories of the days leading up to Christmas, especially during the season of Advent.
Mrs. Lorenzato and her two daughters, Amy and Emma, visiting the New York Botanical Garden last holiday season. Courtesy of Mrs. Lorenzato

“When I was younger, there are [two] holiday traditions that I remember really clearly. One was always having our neighbors over on the night of Christmas Eve for mince pies and mulled wine,” Mrs. Lorenzato said.  “I also remember the great Advent calendar that my parents put together for my sisters and me.”
Now, Mrs. Lorenzato has two daughters, Emma, age 9, and Amy, age 6.  Mrs. Lorenzato explained how Emma and Amy enjoy the unique holiday traditions within their family.
“Santa always brings Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve and manages to deliver them while we are out at Christmas Eve Mass,” Mrs. Lorenzato said.  “We also read A Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder every year. . . . We gather by the fire each night and read it together and it builds beautifully—it’s a great antidote to all of the commercialism of Christmas.”
Regarding her own personal experiences with Christmas traditions, Mrs. Lorenzato noted how the meaning of certain traditions has developed with her throughout her life.  
“Holiday traditions are so meaningful because they connect us to our past and really help us to appreciate the importance of family,” Mrs. Lorenzato said.  “I see this most when I listen to traditional Christmas carols. I’ve heard the same songs since I was a little girl, but their meaning and importance to me has developed as I’ve grown older.  The meaning was there all along, but the part it plays in our own story becomes more apparent the more of the world we experience.”
– Sydney Kim, Opinions Editor
Featured Image by Sydney Kim ‘20