Kassie Jones (12) started a tradition with her family in 2007 that gives back and shows the warm spirit of the holidays. Jones and her family open their home to foreign students whose families aren’t in the city to celebrate with them. The tradition was brought on when Jones sister, Kristen Thoni, was in junior college and had two close friends who didn’t have a place to celebrate the holidays. Thoni brought her friends back to the Jones household. “It was a little weird having that many people in the house, when we already have five family members living there,” Jones said.
Thrown off by the first visit of these foreign friends, the Jones adapted to this tradition and truly picked up on it in 2012. Jones’s sister lived in Sudan adopting different customs, bringing those customs and more people back home with her. Kassie was excited hearing the news preparing her household for the new friend Thoni would bring back with her. “It’s an awesome feeling to open our home to a variety of people,” Jones said.
This Christmas, Jones and her family were blessed with the opportunity to spend the holidays with Thoni’s friend from China. Her name is Victoria, she is a student at the University of Louisville.
Kassie was more than excited to host more people for the holidays. She began to clean around the house, and get items from the grocery that her family would need to prepare to eat. With her new foreign friend coming, Jones and her family thought it would be best to get food her family and the foreigners were accustomed to. Jones and her family members believe that accommodating the taste pallet of the foreigners showed a form of respect and concern. “We had common ground and decided to get Turkey and we had plenty of vegetables those of American custom and different ones that Victoria would like,” Jones said.
Christmas morning Jones and her family filed out of their rooms in their festive pajamas and began to eat breakfast while others attacked their presents. The traditions that Kassie and her family took part in were all new to Victoria. “Victoria never celebrated with her whole family (in-laws included) so that was shock to her,” Jones said.
Kassie soon contracted Acute Tonsillitis (the inflammation of your tonsils) and her Christmas plans were affected, as she could no longer go to eat at her grandparents home, instead eating dinner at her household.
Though Jones did have this minor break in tradition, her family still participated in their ornament tradition. The ornament tradition is when all the grandchildren have a special ornament hidden on the Christmas tree. Kassie’s grandmother thought it would be sweet to put an ornament on the tree for Victoria. When she found her ornament on the tree, it was an Uncle Sam ornament. “She loved her ornament, it was something she would remember years after,” Jones said.
When the Christmas day came to a close, Jones observed as Victoria sat and watched “A Christmas Story” the movie with her grandfather. Jones, Victoria, and her grandfather chatted about final scene of the movie in the Chinese Restaurant. “Me and my grandfather questioned her about the ‘Chinese Turkey’ they talked about most in that final scene. Victoria expressed how humorous it is how America depicts the Chinese culture,” Jones said.