Here’s how Christmas is celebrated around the world

Many of us only know how Christmas is celebrated in the United States, but beyond the borders of this country reside many different Christmas celebrations.

Whether the holiday is celebrated on a different day of the year, with people other than family, or even in the middle of summer, Utah Tech University’s international students from around the world have shared how they celebrate Christmas in their home countries. 


International Student Leader Koyo Araki, a junior accounting major from Tokyo, Japan, is one of few international students who will be heading back home for the holidays. 

With family members he hasn’t seen for years, Araki looks forward to going back home, especially to see his girlfriend. 

“For Christmas in Japan, it’s not really for family or religious stuff,” Araki said. “It’s more for girlfriend and boyfriend stuff like a lover day.”

In fact, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, is considered to be the most romantic day of the year in Japan. Closely resembling Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve is a day for couples to spend time with each other while celebrating the holiday. 

Araki said it’s common for couples to go see illuminations where many lights and displays decorate the cityscapes of Japan. 

Because Christmas isn’t a national holiday, Araki said: “Christmas is brought to us more by other countries, but it’s still amazing. You can see your relatives that you haven’t seen for a long time and do lots of traditions.”


Unlike Japan, Christmas day in Scotland is family oriented. It’s a time for family to come together and celebrate the holiday by eating, dancing and spending time with each other. 

Anna Sterk, a freshman psychology major from Stirling, Scotland, said, “Thanksgiving is not widely celebrated in the United Kingdom, so the Thanksgiving meal Americans have is very similar to the meal Scottish people have on Christmas Day.”

Following Dec. 25 is Boxing Day on Dec. 26, where the leftovers from the Christmas meal are boxed up and given to the homeless. 

Sterk looks forward to going back home to celebrate the holidays and enjoys Boxing Day and Christmas. 

“I always loved Christmas,” Sterk said. “I love the fact that it’s kind of an excuse for our family to be together just for a concentrated amount of time, and everyone just seems happier at Christmas.” 


Misha Mosiichuk, a senior information technology major from Oleksandriya, Ukraine, will not be going back home for the holidays but looks forward to spending break with his family here while remembering his Christmas traditions from Ukraine. 

Christmas in Ukraine can be celebrated on Dec. 25, but is more commonly celebrated on Jan. 7 with Christmas festivities beginning on Jan. 6.

Because Christmas comes after the New Year, Mosiichuk said he, along with many others, enjoy celebrating the New Years more than Christmas, although Christmas is still one of his favorites. 

“I like the smell of mandarin and the Christmas trees,” Mosiichuk said. “I also like the holiday spirit. I would say I like the feeling of the fireplace, the coziness and watching movies.”

For Christmas meals in Ukraine, Mosiichuk said the food is one of the biggest differences between Christmas in America and Christmas in Ukraine. Most of the meal consists of dumplings full of different meats and vegetables along with various cakes. 


Similar to Ukraine, Christmas in Spain can be celebrated Dec. 25 but is also celebrated on Jan. 6th.

International Student Leader Sara Pruther, a junior digital film major from Ibiza, Spain, said Christmas celebrations in her home country include her family getting together for a meal usually prepared by the host.

Depending on the religion of a family, Catholic traditions are also carried out to celebrate Christmas including attending a midnight mass and celebrating the Three Kings in a parade Jan. 5. 

“We have two types of Christmas, but we don’t really celebrate Santa Claus,” Pruther said. “That’s not really a thing, but instead, we do the Three Kingman, and it’s basically like Santa Claus, but just bigger.”

The Three Kings are a biblical tale where the men brought gifts to baby Jesus. Replacing the popular Santa Claus, the Three Kings bring gifts to the children of Spain.


While many parts of the world will be experiencing winter during Christmas time, Peru and all other countries in the Southern Hemisphere are experiencing summer. 

International Student Leader Alvaro Lopez, a sophomore management major from Lima, Peru, will be traveling within the U.S. during break but still has many traditions that come from his home country.

Lopez said many people in Peru include nativity scenes in their Christmas decorations and also attend a mass on Dec. 24. 

These masses consist of praying, chanting and mostly singing where attendees get the chance to celebrate the religious meaning of Christmas. 

“I guess the whole vibe and mood of Christmas makes me feel excited for this time of the year,” Lopez said. “With the rest of the year, its just hard to gather together with family, but now we get to do that which makes this time really fun.”

Despite not going back home during break, Lopez and other students still remember the homes they came from, the traditions they loved, and the memories they made during past Christmas celebrations while looking forward to the celebrations to come for this year.

OPINION | Disneyland is the happiest place on earth

If you don’t think Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, you’re doing it wrong.

Disneyland offers the full theme park experience. There is entertainment for all ages, attractions and good food.

There is a noticeable, special feeling the second you step on “The Walk of Magical Memories.” Whether it is the smell of freshly baked goods and popcorn or the magical firework show, there is no doubt that you will leave with a smile on your face.


“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy” is one of the first signs you will see walking into Disneyland. After reading the quote, you can pay attention to the different posters displayed near it and throughout the park.

These movie posters simply display the past and present Disney movies, but I personally admire the reminders of how far Disney has come. Not only do they offer visual representations of Disney’s greatest achievements, but they are also a preview of what attractions you may find in the park.

Although Disneyland is always renovating and adding rides, you will still want to keep the original attractions in your mix.

There are still 13 attractions operating that have been at the park since the opening day. One of the most popular rides amongst the 13 is Peter Pan’s Flight. Despite the fact that this ride has been running since 1955, it is arguably one of the best storytelling rides Disneyland has to offer.

Peter Pan’s Flight perfectly encompasses the movie by taking you over the city of London and other scenes of the movie.

Even though the prices and technology may change at Disneyland, the core attractions will always bring the same nostalgia you experienced when you were a kid.

You can watch your favorite movies come to life

Disneyland goes above and beyond when it comes to bringing the magic to life. The most recent example of this is the movie “Star Wars.”

The new state-of-the-art Rise of Resistance ride is the most technologically advanced theme park attraction in existence today. This attraction is a combination of audio-animatronics, screen-based media, motion simulations, and more to make it feel like you are truly on a secret mission.

I was truly stunned the first time I rode this ride. Although we waited almost 70 minutes, it was worth every second.

This ride was unlike any theme park ride I had rode before. The technology and the surprises Rise of the Resistance offered were mind-blowing and something you have to experience in person to understand.

Along with the movie-based attractions, there are handfuls of your favorite characters around the park at all times. If you are lucky, you will catch them doing stunts and other acts.

Entertainment at every corner

Not only does Disneyland have 58 attractions to choose from, it has a variety of entertainment to ensure there is never a dull moment.

This entertainment can be as small as a character walking around and interacting with guests to incredible nighttime shows starring Mickey Mouse. The entertainment that is provided throughout Disneyland adds to the magical experience that other theme parks lack.

While at Disneyland, you can enjoy street performers, live music and fireworks to name a few. No matter how many times you go, you will always find a new type of entertainment to enjoy with your family and friends.

My favorite entertainment Disneyland offers is the “Fantasmic!” show. This show escalates the Rivers of America to a thrilling act that has fireworks, music and stunts that incorporates Disney’s favorite characters.

Walt Disney himself said it best: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

If you are on the fence, take a trip to the happiest place on earth. You won’t be disappointed.

Your 2022 holiday gift guide

Christmas is around the corner and finding the perfect gift for that special someone is not always easy.

Gifts can be thoughtful no matter the amount of money. With college students on a tight budget, gift ideas can become harder to think of. Whether you are getting a gift for your family or your roommates, there are thoughtful and affordable gifts available.

Summer Evans, a sophomore management major from Havasu, Arizona, loves gifting college necessities to her roommates.

“When making my Christmas wishlist, there are always things included that have something to do with what I need for college along with what my friends always need or want,” Evans said.

There are many trending items that college students are wanting to get others however, they need affordable options for others gifts such as their friends or roommates. A college student’s favorite food may come from  Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s are many college students’ favorite place to shop for groceries and meals. The Trader Joe’s cookbook, “The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook” by Andrea Lynn is a gift idea for those needing meal ideas for their college days.

“A gift that I put on my wishlist and want to get others is “The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook,” Evans said. “My roommate was gifted this book last Christmas from her family and it has great recipe ideas from my favorite grocery store to make.”

This cookbook for college students can be found at Urban OutfittersAmazon, and Target for a price ranging from $14 to $15.

Many stores offer stocking stuffer ideas in the front of their store or the Christmas section. These sections contain little gifts that are usually under $20 or have a price that is specific to that section.

Riley Sexton, a sophomore communication studies major from South Jordan, likes to make gift shopping easy and buy pre-made gift packages at Target.

“When going to buy friends a cheap and affordable gift, I like to go to the Target Christmas aisle,” Sexton said.

This aisle has Christmas-themed gifts that make gift-buying easy. Some options that the Target Christmas section carries for gift ideas include lip balm, body scrubs, hot chocolate mixes and holiday candy.

“Most of the holiday gifts come in pre-packaged holiday wrapping that makes the gift even more special for the holiday season,” Sexton said.

While we want to get special gifts for the special people in our life, including mom and dad, we still need to find something affordable to fit our budget. Cutting boards to make charcuterie boards are a popular gift that many can get for their mothers.

Jordan Anderson, a sophomore management major from South Jordan, found the perfect gift for her mother that was affordable to buy while also showing meaning.

“My mom loves making charcuterie boards and making them personalized for any occasional event or holiday party we have,” Anderson said. “I bought her one this Christmas that was embroidered with our family name on the board.”

Amazon and Etsy offer customized charcuterie boards. This can make for a great gift for mothers and those who love to create charcuterie boards.

Organic or handmade soaps can make for a great and simple gift. Soap is an essential product that anyone and everyone can use. Many small businesses sell handmade soap and Amazon also offers organically made soap bars.

Photo holders not only are a great gift to place photos, but they hold special memories based on what you put in the photo holder.

Spencer Cox, a junior exercise science major from St. George, likes giving photos to loved ones for Christmas.

“The gift that I feel is valuable to those special people in your life and affordable is a photo holder,” Cox said. “There are many different photo holders that can be unique to the style you want to gift the individual.”

This can be gifted with a photo or two to represent and show a memory that would make the gift extra meaningful. Many photo holders can be purchased for an affordable price on Sugar and Cloth, Amazon, and Shein.

Giving a name-brand gift doesn’t always have to be expensive. When looking for affordable things on name-brand websites or in-store, it can be valuable to look at the accessories the brand carries. Most accessories are not too expensive when it involves water bottles, key chains or mini bags.

Lululemon is a great place to get a quality gift when it comes to accessories. This brand can be pricey, but when looking at accessories like their famous belt bag, it can be affordable. The belt bags can range from $30 to $40 with quality material and wear. Many want Lululemon belt bags for their everyday wear and on the go. This bag has a variety of color options and can be gifted to both men and women. This trendy item of the season can be a gift for anyone and everyone while being affordable.

HOT TAKE | ‘Home Alone’ is the most iconic, humorous Christmas movie

Tis’ the season to cuddle up by the fire and watch a good Christmas movie, and what better sequence to watch than the undervalued “Home Alone”.

“Home Alone” is the best movie to just chill at home with some good holiday treats and watch for a couple of hours. It is not a sequel where the first movie is the only good one. In “Home Alone”, the story telling in each movie is prominent and humorous.

The story telling in the movies takes the readers through an adventure with famous, humorous scenes. Kevin, the protagonist, makes the movie title and is left alone at home while his family goes on vacation without him, and what he does in his spare time is the best part.

Kevin pulled funny pranks on two robbers who tried breaking into his home including the “trendy” feather coat, the trip wire, staple gun, tarantula, brick throw, toy cars on the floor, head blowtorch, and a boiling hot doorknob.

The best part about all of these pranks is that, although the pranks were violent, the movie made it seem unrealistic so that the pranks were funny instead.

When Kevin pulled the brick, staple gun and the toy car pranks, the two robbers Harry and Marv fell for these not once but twice. A reasonable person would maybe let it happen once and remember to not let it happen again, but this was all part of the producers plan. These prank scenes were undeniably funny and ultimately the reason the movie ratings are through the roof.

The other pranks Kevin performed in the movie that were hysterically memorable were the head blowtorch, hot doorknob, the tarantula and ice on the stairs to the basement, and the nail on the staircase. These pranks were memorable to the movie because they were also unreasonable but in the way that nobody would get severely injured from them.

In each of these scenes, if the pranks were realistic, it wouldn’t make the scenes as humorous as they were, but it is the opposite because they are truly unrealistic. For example, instead of just standing underneath the blow torch and letting it burn their head, they could have stepped out of the way quicker to prevent further injury. Injury could have been prevented in nearly all of these pranks, but the movie producers also made it so the robbers looked dumb.

Lastly, the ice on the stairs scene is one of the best ones because who would see ice on stairs and still willingly decide to walk down them without considering any injury consequences.

Similarly to the other pranks, they were all unrealistic for a reason and that was for the reason of making “Home Alone” the best Christmas movie series to ever exist.

Utah Tech men’s basketball comes out on top against Chapman University

Utah Tech University men’s basketball had its highest scoring game this season with a 99-58 win against Chapman University because of its discipline on and off the court.

This game was the Trailblazers’ first time playing the Panthers, so a lot of preparation was essential to come in with the right mindset and determination to win. The Trailblazers came prepared, as they scored the highest amount of points so far this season.

No. 2 Trey Edmonds, a sophomore psychology major from Aurora, Colorado, said the focus in practice was to make sure the team wasn’t taking its foot off the gas. Even though they were playing a new team, they still had to put their best foot forward.

Edmonds said, “Coach wrote on the board before the game ‘discipline’, so we have to stick to what we know, stick to what we do, our defensive principles and play smart.”

Head coach Jon Judkins had a big part in keeping the players grounded in practice and striving to play their best on the court no matter the opposing team.

Judkins said: “We always challenge our guys by asking, ‘Do you want to be a great team or a good team?’ A great team means no matter who you are playing, you are playing great. A good team plays down to their competition. Tonight we did a good job with being a great team.”

The Panthers started off the game on the scoreboard, but the Trailblazers quickly bounced back. The two teams fought hard for the ball and continued scoring back and forth. Utah Tech was able to take the lead after nine minutes into the first half, and they stayed on top for the rest of the game. By the end of the first half, the Trailblazers led 51-29.

Utah Tech kicked off the second half with a 3-pointer by No. 21, Isaiah Pope, a junior communication studies major from Yorba Linda, California. The momentum stayed the rest of the half with the score growing from an additional six 3-pointers, multiple free throws, layups and jump shots. The Trailblazers ended the game with its highest score in a season game yet, 99-58.

No. 3 Cameron Gooden, a senior recreation and sports management major from Frisco, Texas, said to keep the momentum they will need to continue playing selfless games of basketball by sharing the ball between teammates and getting everybody involved.

“We just need to not get out of character on the court,” Gooden said. “We need to prove that we can stay locked in regardless of who is out there.”

Utah Tech will stay in St. George to try for another win against The Master’s University Dec. 17.

5AM Soccer: Utah Tech athlete creates his own soccer training business

A Utah Tech University soccer player woke up at 5 a.m. every day for two years to improve his soccer skills but little did he know, it would inspire him to do something else. 

Niko Shumov, a COVID senior, grew up in Keaau, Hawaii, where the soccer scene was not as popular then as it is today. Because of this, Shumov woke up early every morning to “catch up” with the talent levels of other soccer players his age by undergoing extra training. 

His wake-up time along with his alarm clock song, “5AM” by Logic, inspired Shumov to create his own soccer training business, 5AM Soccer.

Shumov said with the business he started about a year ago, he offers private and group trainings for athletes ranging from the youth level to the collegiate level. During his trainings, he works on technical development, tactical understanding, and strength and conditioning to help athletes move more efficiently and stay healthy. 

“I enjoy coaching younger kids,” Shumov said. “It’s fun to see when something clicks for them, the excitement on their face, and it’s cool to be a part of their journey from the beginning.”

Grace Korman, the mother of Ellie Korman, 15, is one of Shumov’s clients. Although they live in Southern California, Ellie Korman’s gym trainer recommended Shumov to them. 

Grace Korman said: “Niko is younger than the more seasoned coaches Ellie’s used to working with but has an old soul with values that align with ours. Ellie immediately enjoyed working with him.”

After noticing improvement in Ellie Korman’s playing skills, Shumov said one of the highs of owning his own business is seeing his athletes have success and improve. 

“I really enjoy what I’m doing,” Shumov said. “I’m just focused on giving back to my athletes, giving the best product that I can, and making sure they’re improving and benefiting.”

Because of his intense focus and goals for his clients, admiration and respect have come from those he has trained. 

Grace Korman said she would recommend Shumov to others looking for a personal trainer because he is professional, reliable and committed, going “above and beyond” to form personal connections with each of his clients. 

Not only have his clients supported Shumov in his business but also his friends, family and fellow teammates. 

Shumov said his teammates have been very supportive of his journey by training with him and promoting his business on their own social media accounts. 

Shumov’s roommate and teammate, Larsen Rogers, a junior psychology major from Albuquerque, New Mexico, has supported Shumov’s business by sharing his Instagram posts and telling others about the business.

“I think seeing Niko’s business grow has gotten me excited to go after my dreams even harder,” Rogers said. “From all the effort and push that he’s put into it and his passion, it has shown me another level that I can go to to make sure I go after my dreams.” 

With Shumov’s many qualifications and accomplishments making him fit to train those younger and older than him, Rogers said Shumov’s training sessions are well-planned, organized and intense. 

“It’s probably one of the best training session environments I’ve ever been in,” Rogers said. “He does a really good job of creating training exercises and expecting you to train and work hard and get better.”

Shumov has worked hard in his 18 years plus of playing soccer. With much of Shumov’s athletic knowledge coming from his own research, he has put in many hours of studying the sport. By attending professional soccer camps and training top-college athletes while being a college student himself, many of Shumov’s qualifications have allowed him success in his business.  

“I think I’m slowly growing,” Shumov said. “I think everyone has goals of being extremely successful, but I understand it takes some time.”

By continuing to grow, Shumov hopes to one day train professional athletes and travel abroad while doing so. He also hopes to have a wide range of athletes to train from kids, all the way to professionals, while increasing his social media presence, getting his name out there, and working on a business website to be up and running by the end of January. 

Shumov has shown it takes hard work, determination and drive to own and grow a business, and maybe waking up at 5 a.m. every morning is the way to do it. 

Utah Tech Women’s Basketball team prepares to use its strengths to its best advantage

The Utah Tech University women’s basketball team is preparing for the first game in its five-game road swing by getting better at the elements that are already successful.

The team will begin the road game battle against the United States Air Force Academy Dec. 10 at the Clune Arena.

Previously, Utah Tech trailed by 15 points resulting in a loss against the USAF last year. Utah Tech head coach JD Gustin said USAF had one of their best seasons last year and with their experience, they were able to add on to it this season.

“They are good again this year, the experience they had from last year’s successes carried over to this year, so it is going to be a challenging game for us playing at Air Force,” Gustin said.

Gustin said playing this game is a huge opportunity to get a road win in the Mountain West, it will be a difficult game but believes the team is ready for the challenge. Gustin referred to it as one of the most challenging places to play.

“It’s a significant challenge getting yourself prepared to play on the road, but we’ve done it a couple times now, so we have experience with it, and we’re going to build on that experience,” Gustin said. “Win or lose, we just want to come out and be focused and engaged, prepped and prepared and just give our best.”

Ready and prepped for this weekend, Amber Kartchner, a freshman management major from Logan, said she strives to be the hardest-working person on the court. Kartchner transferred to Utah Tech from Brigham Young University. She has proved her skills on the court and has performed many minutes on the court this season.

Kartchner said the team’s mental game is strong, and the offensive game is secure. The team is currently standing at No. 1 in the country for its 3-pointers made per game, and the tenth-scoring offense in the nation so far.

“We are mentally tough, no matter who the bigger, stronger team is, it doesn’t matter,” Kartchner said. “We are going to try and out-work them.”

With the plan to outwork their opponents this weekend, Macie Warren, a sophomore general studies major from Lehi, said she wants to be more dominant and aggressive. After experiencing her first year of college play, Warren knows what to expect.

“I’ve got year-end under my belt now, I know how WAC play is, how it is to play in college, so I just want to be more aggressive with the ball on defense and assert my dominance more,” Warren said.

Knowing how USAF played last year, Warren said there are a few different things they have been preparing for this week and, essentially, this season to put themselves in the lead and stay on top.

The team knows that it will be a challenge, but to stay mentally tough and not let the USAF get what they want, which is turnovers.

“They want to get turnovers, and if we handle that pressure and we don’t turn it, we are going to have a chance to win,” Gustin said. “If we turn it like they want us to, it’s going to be pretty hard.”

After seeing how USAF played against them last year, Warren is prepared to work hard on defense and prevent as much as possible.

“Knowing them last year, they apply a lot of pressure on defense, so we just got to be strong on the ball,” Warren said.

With more game prep soon to come and overcoming injuries, the team will continue practicing this week before hitting the road and battling it out in Colorado Springs in hopes of a road game win.

Our view: Most anticipated movies of 2023

After days of thinking, the Sun News Daily staff each debated and decided on the movies they are most excited to see in 2023.

To get you thinking, here are a few of the movies you can expect to see next year:

  • “Magic Mike’s Last Dance”
  • “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”
  • “Creed III”
  • “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”
  • “The Little Mermaid”
  • “Barbie”

Before you keep reading, take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes “34 Most Anticipated Movies of 2023” list, so you can continue to read this article with your own opinions; however, no promises that your opinion won’t change. Our staff members are pretty convincing.

Personally, I can’t wait to see Timothee Chalamet take the stage as Willy Wonka in “Wonka.” There isn’t ever a time to me that watching “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” doesn’t sound fun, and now that Chalamet is going to be the main character, I am even more stoked.

Now, the list doesn’t end here, and as the editor-in-chief of the Sun News, I asked a few of my staff members which movie they are going to drool over in 2023. Here’s what they said.

Copy editor Leslie Smart – “The Little Mermaid”

“I am most excited for ‘The Little Mermaid’ because there is going to be new added songs, so it is going to be a little different than the original animated movie. I feel like Disney live actions are either hit or miss, so I am excited to see if it is going to be great because ‘The Little Mermaid’ is already iconic. But, Lin Manuel Miranda is in charge of music, so it should be fine.”

News editor Joe Boyle“Barbie”

“I’m most excited for the ‘Barbie’ movie because Ryan Gosling is really good and fun, and it is being directed by Greta Gerwig who is like one of the best directors working. She’s awesome.”

Video editor Kelsa Lundstedt – “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

“I am most excited for the Indiana Jones movie because it reminds me of my childhood, and I love Harrison Ford.”

News anchor Frankie Medina – “Scream 6”

“I am most excited for ‘Scream 6.’ I love all those movies; I have all of them on DVD, and I am just really excited for the story and the plot line.”

Graphic designer Elissa Aguayo – “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”

“I am most excited for the new ‘Hunger Games’ movie. I love ‘The Hunger Games,’ and I haven’t watched them in a long time.”

Staff writer Angel Wood – “The Little Mermaid”

“I am most looking forward to ‘The Little Mermaid’ because I feel like we’ve all been waiting a really long time for it, and I love the Disney, live-action remakes.”

Video reporter Laura White – “Creed III”

“I’m most excited for “Creed III” to come out because it has the love of my life Michael B. Jordan in it.”

Features editor Bailey Chism – “Avatar: The Way of Water”

“The movie I’m most looking forward to in 2023 has to be the new ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’ The first one was such an iconic movie, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the new one.”

News anchor Stockton Myers – “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

“It’s the fifth film of a beloved action adventure series. Indiana Jones is my favorite movie character of all time. He’s not your perfect hero by any means. He’s quite the jerk at times, but he always ends up doing the right thing in the end. It also helps that the third film, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,’ is my favorite film of all time.”

It’s your turn

Are you looking forward to an action-packed year of movies or maybe a more subtle movie watching experience with a Disney remake? We want to know. What movies are you excited to see next year? Head to @sunnews_daily on Instagram to tell us.