(Jingle bells ring.)

 Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas everybody! I’m Devin Degen!

I'm Kylie Fox!

I',Carolyn Baxter!

I'm Mariah Bronk!

And I'm James Quinlin!

Welcome to a special holiday edition of the "Bear Facts".  Season's Greetings from everybody here at Bishop Garrigan High School!

Christmas vacation has started. We got out early yesterday, and while we do have some sports events over break, there's no school at Garrigan and Seton for the next two weeks. When we get back in January, we'll have a week and a half to wrap up the semester and review, and then we'll take our semester tests.

Christmas is a time when we remember those who are in need, and we've been busy with a lot of different service projects this December at Garrigan. Last Friday every student at school pitched in to package meals for the hungry. About half of those meals were shipped to people in need in Mississippi, while others ended up at homeless shelters in Fort Dodge, Dubuque, and at the Food Bank of Central Iowa in Des Moines.

Other groups have also chipped in to make the holidays brighter for those in need. Bishop Garrigan joined other schools in the Top of Iowa Conference in a special service project in Mason City helping out the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots. Choir students have caroled in local nursing homes, and we've been raising money to provide chickens for needy people in Haiti. The student council also continued its annual tradition of buying gifts for a family they adopted through the Kossuth County CARE Team. The teachers and staff chipped in, too, helping out a local family in need.

For more than twenty years now, each Christmas the "Bear Facts" has done a special holiday survey here at Garrigan. This year we asked people what their plans were over Christmas break. Courtney Kirsch says she wants to drink hot cocoa and watch TV, while Grant Arndorfer hopes to be playing in the snow. John Zeimet wants to go deer hunting, Kat Willie will be going skiing, and Megan Bronk says she'll be singing at a nursing home. Jedd Magill is travelling to North Carolina, and Gracie Behr says she'll jjust be hanging out with friends and family.

Skyland Meraz says he plans to get a little more organized over Christmas break. Johanna Vaske will be eating and spending time with family. Then there's Levi Capesius, who will be spending the holiday with his brother, who'll be getting his last chemotherapy treatment. Our prayers are with Bryce and all the Capesiuses this Christmas.

We also asked people what they want for Christmas. The most common thing on people's Christmas lists was money, but there were also some touching answers--like world peace, and health for friends and family. Eric Thul wants a ukulele for Christmas, while Mrs. Schiltz wants lots of laughs and good food. Fit bits and phones were also popular requests.

Devin Degen wants a car radio, and Chase Hatten wants an old fixed-up truck. Madison Illg wants a hoverboard, Bryce Garman wants a laptop, Brad Capesius wants an Apple watch, and Will Eggers says he wants an "A" in Algebra class. Will Kellner says he really wants nothing for Christmas, while Luke Bormann says he'd be happy with anything, and Isabella Capesius says she really doesn't know what she wants. Finally Caitlin Thilges and Ben Fogarty both said they just want to spend time with family and friends.

When we asked people their best holiday memory, Bryce Capesius said it was when he got an ice house for Christmas. Mrs. Ferjak says she remembers when her kids were little and the house was filled with excitement on Christmas morning. Other memories include watching Christmas movies and special vacations over the holidays.

Miss McCall remembers the silver Christmas tree they had when she was little with a color wheel that turned it from red to blue to yellow. Carolyn Baxter remembers receiving a cup with a nipple on it at her family gift exchange. James Quinlin's best memory was getting a ping-pong table for Christmas, and Aidan Koob remembers holding up candles when the lights went out on Christmas and his cousin played guitar.

The last question we asked was what strange Christmas traditions people's families have. Andrew Lallier says his family steals traditions from different nationalities. John Zeimet's family always eats seafood for Christmas, and both Matt Thul and Andrew Meister always have oyster stew for the holidays. Sarah Skilling's family always drives around to look at lights and decorations, while Megan Brown's family has to wait until everyone is up to go downstairs Christmas morning.

Mrs. Peterson says everyone in her family has a dove they add to her mom's Christmas tree. Joel Vaske always plays sports on Christmas Eve, and Isabelle Davis' family has Mario Kart Wii competitions for the holidays. John Capesius says his family has a "pre-Christmas" and a "normal Christmas", and Noah Buscher says they have Christmas with his mom's family on New Year's.  Jordan Hansen spoke for the majority of students, though, when she responded "I'm normal.".

Because of the holiday, we're skipping our Senior Spotlight today, and our Golden Bear calendar will cover three full weeks of events. It starts next Monday, when the JV and varsity boys will be playing at Spirit Lake.

Tuesday night there's a basketball quad, with the Bears hosting the North Iowa Bison. The danz squad will have their special Christmas performance at halftime of the varsity boys game.

There's no school next week or the week after that.  We'll all be with our families as we celebrate Christmas and New Year's. Saturday, January 2nd, the Bears will host the annual basketball classic against Algona High. The art department will serve a meal at the games.

School starts up again at Garrigan and Seton on Monday, January 4th, which is the Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. That night there's basketball at Humboldt. Then on Tuesday the Bears play at Forest City.

We'll  have mass for Epiphany on Wednesday, January 6th. Thursday the JJV basketball team plays West Hancock at Britt. Then on Friday the 8th the JV and varsity Bears host West Hancock, with the cross-country team serving a meal during the games.

That's the "Bear Facts"  for the holidays. We'll be off for the next two weeks for Christmas vacation, but be sure to join us again on January 9, 2016, when we'll be back with more news from Bishop Garrigan High School.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

(Jingle bells ring.)