Skip to content

MHS Students Share Their Favorite Holiday Traditions

Throughout November and December, Milton Hershey School is filled with holiday magic as students come together as a community to create memories and traditions.

Some of these traditions go back more than 50 years, including holiday dinners in the student home and sled-riding during the first snow. Other traditions are newer such as Founders Feast—an annual program and dinner that celebrates founders Milton and Catherine Hershey’s generosity.

Take a look at the memories and traditions that mean the most to MHS students during the holiday season.

Milton's Christmas Workshop

Founders Feast

This annual celebration takes place during Founders Week in November and gives students an opportunity to reflect on the school’s rich history and learn how they can be part of the Hersheys’ life-changing legacy. It’s also a chance for the community to create new memories.

  • “My favorite tradition is Founders Feast. I love how everyone comes together for one night and enjoys a meal and fellowship. I believe that building relationships with as many people as possible is highly beneficial to your success throughout life.” –Kenny, an MHS sophomore
  • “I thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate our founders and get together with our whole MHS family.” –Abbigail, an MHS freshman

2018 Founders Feast

Milton’s Christmas Workshop

Milton’s Christmas Workshop is an annual event that allows elementary and middle school students to shop for their loved ones. The event was created so students can experience the joy of giving by finding presents for their family. High school students often volunteer at the event and help elementary students find the perfect gift!

  • “I love Milton’s Christmas Workshop. Seeing the kids’ faces light up is amazing, and being in a space with great Christmas energy definitely makes my night.” –Clarissa, an MHS junior

Milton's Christmas Workshop

Student Home Traditions

For MHS students, spending time with their peers and houseparents in the student home leads to memories that last a lifetime. During the holidays, student homes are filled with laughter, warm meals, and the joy of giving.

  • “My favorite tradition is gift opening in the student home a few days before we go home for break. It’s a time where everyone is smiling and thankful about something—it’s incredible to see what can make someone smile.” – Gracie, an MHS junior
  • “Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are my favorite. Seeing everyone come together to spread laughter and smiles throughout a room is really amazing to see.” –Jessica, an MHS senior

MHS elementary students and alumni enjoy Christmas party

Community Connections

Throughout the entire school year, but especially during the holidays, students enjoy building meaningful connections with staff members. Many mentors keep in touch with students after graduation and continue to support them as they achieve their goals.

“One of my favorite memories was when I was walking to school. A teacher was too and decided to walk with me so I wasn’t alone.” –Kyle, an MHS freshman

Year-Round Experiences

MHS offers 24/7 care for students throughout the entire year. For students who don’t go home during holiday breaks, they participate in the school’s Year-Round Experiences (YRE) program where they enjoy exciting holiday activities.

  • “My favorite tradition is Camp Noel. I’m a YRE worker for the elementary kids that don’t go home over Christmas break. We try as hard as we can to make their Christmas special!” –Sydney, an MHS senior

MHS student at Christmas

Winter Sports and Activities

The holiday season also marks the start of winter sports! The MHS community comes together to support athletic teams during basketball games, swim meets, wrestling matches, and ice hockey games.

  • “The start of winter sports is exciting, and we have events to recognize those who are emulating success either in athletics, academics, or co-curricular activities. I love the abundant giving, the kindness toward others, and the vast love from the MHS community.”– Ethan, an MHS senior
  • “I enjoy how the MHS family can come together and cheer on our Spartans to do good during basketball season.” –Nigier, an MHS freshman

MHS basketball

Outdoor Fun

With more than 135 acres of fields, the MHS campus is breathtaking when snow blankets the ground. MHS students and alumni have fond memories of sled-riding and playing in the snow with their friends.

  • “My favorite memory that happens during this time of year is the first time it snows. After school, there’s usually some sort of fun with snowballs and friends playing in the snow.” –Dane, an MHS junior
  • “One of my favorite memories is from when I was in middle school. I remember it had snowed a lot, so me and my student home went out to play. There are a lot of memories from that.” –Serenity, an MHS freshman

MHS with snow


Learn more about some of the Christmas traditions throughout Milton Hershey School history.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. View full Equal Opportunity Policy.