Everyone experiences the world’s offerings by meeting new people, seeing new places and learning new things. In “A Piece of Me,” a special and seasonal new section within Features, students have the opportunity to share their experiences by focusing on one object and revealing the meaningful story behind it, which relates to the theme of that issue. Everyone can choose to write about absolutely anything in the world – a store, a food, a person, a song, an instrument, a toy, etc. – and two people could even stumble upon one another by writing about the same piece of matter. However, to each person does that specific object hold its own, unique story. In this week’s issue, fellow Highlander writers share their Christmas stories in the form of a sultry Mexican food dish, a nostalgic Christmas album and several other “pieces” of the world that effortlessly bring these students’ minds back to the magical season of the holidays.

Disney Tree

By: Cydney Contreras, SW

My family is big on Christmas. The house is decorated with five different Christmas trees that are decorated according to their own theme. We have a tree dedicated to Dia de los Muertos, a ‘60s-themed tree, a traditional tree and even an upside-down tree. Decorating all the trees can take days and has long been a source of tension in my family, but it is something I would never wish to change.

My favorite tree is the Disney tree. It is decorated with ornaments that say “Baby’s First Christmas” or ornaments with photos of my sisters and me dressed up as our favorite Disney princesses. Every year when I begin to decorate the tree, it reminds me of how grateful I am for my childhood and the memories I made with my sisters. It reminds me of a time that was simpler and that I wish more than anything that I could go back to.

Wrapping Paper

By: Erika Rico, CW

I’m not a big Christmas person, but I love gift wrapping. Whenever the holidays come around, I can’t wait to go to the store and pick out new wrapping paper filled with snowflakes, cartoon characters and random quotes of cheer. I always find joy in making someone’s gift look special and pleasing to the eye. Having perfect edges and accents make my holidays more fun every year.

It’s always a learning experience too. I always try to step up my game from the year before. I am the first to volunteer when people need their gifts wrapped. I am surprised I haven’t worked at a gift-wrapping booth because I would have so much fun if I did. I know some people just want the gift under the wrapping paper, but the wrapping paper always brings me closer to the holiday cheer.


By: Martha Delgado, CW

As basic as it sounds, most of my holiday memories begin around the time that Starbucks releases its holiday drinks. My first Starbucks holiday drink memory was when I was 15 and bought an eggnog latte after I sprained my ankle during my first attempt at ice skating. Other people in my group of friends and peers also bought Starbucks drinks, and seeing all of our holiday Starbucks cups made me feel as if we were all somewhat united through our love of Starbucks. It made me temporarily forget about my sprained ankle.

Another Starbucks holiday drink memory is from a few years later when I was purchasing perfume and jewelry as Christmas presents for my family for the first time with a Starbucks peppermint mocha frappucino in my hand. The holiday drink felt like Christmas decorations to me: Around Christmastime, you not only see the Christmas lights and fake snow but the holiday Starbucks drinks that people carry around as well. They are basically a Christmas staple to me.  


By: Adrian Garcia, CW

When I think of Christmas, my mind instantly goes to the scenery of dark and cold winter nights, cozying up next to the fireplace with hot chocolate in my hand and the aroma of the Mexican soup dish known as menudo in the air. For the menudo-unenlightened, menudo is a soup dish that consists of beef tripe and usually hominy and a staple dish of Hispanic culture.

My family is always dedicated to making menudo taste as good as it always does. That’s why every time I smell the delicate aroma floating around in the kitchen, my mind reverts back to Christmas: To the cold, winter morning after opening presents and to the whole family being together, in the moment and glad to be eating some warm and delicious menudo. It doesn’t matter what month it is either. Whenever I smell the scent of menudo, I feel happy because it reminds me of the most joyous times of being around my family.

“Merry Christmas” (Mariah Carey album)

By: Edward Dave, CW

As an avid Mariah Carey fan for half of my 20 years of life, her Christmas album, “Merry Christmas,” has been an integral part in making my holidays feel festive. Carey’s voice is lush as she belts to the stars and commands power, but it is balanced by this sultry breathy coo when she enlists for a more subtle interpretation of her lyrics. It all culminates into a wonderful experience. It has become a staple of my Christmas culture and it’s one of those “feel good” albums that stays fixed into my mind during any portion of the holidays.

Back in 2010, when I first discovered the album and binge-listened to it that entire break, I felt like I had ascended to the gates of heaven. The album was important to me because that year I had just began high school and listening to this album toward the end of the year filled me with joy, helping me enter the new year with new motivation and a fresh outlook on life. Since then, the album has become a part of my Christmas regimen.