Gifts, lights, and so much food: Stanford staff share their holiday traditions

Lalita du Perron, associate director for the Center for South Asia. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Whether cracking open cooked crabs, lighting candles, or making tamales, the Stanford staff community enjoys a wide array of traditions during this time of year.

More than 15,000 people work at the university and support teaching, learning, research, and core operations at Stanford year-round.

Stanford Report gathered some of their personal end-of-the-year traditions to share with the community here:

Lalita du Perron, associate director for Center for South Asia:

I grew up in The Netherlands, where we have our own version of Christmas, celebrated on Dec. 5. The history of the holiday is complicated and has connections to slavery, something that has been the subject of increased scrutiny in Holland. The essence of the holiday is that Sinterklaas (cognate with Santa Claus) visits homes on the night of Dec. 5, giving presents to children who are deemed to have been “good.” Part of the fun is that often presents are wrapped up in a way to disguise them, and people write fun little poems along with the gifts. Lots of candy is associated with the holiday! We get chocolate in the shape of the first letter of our name, marzipan in the shape of fruit, and many other goodies. While ensuring aspects of the tradition are appropriately critiqued, I nevertheless enjoy keeping this Dutch family tradition going in the USA.

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