Amber Demery, 21, Student   

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"I don't [celebrate Kwanzaa]. But, I'm actually going to get ready to — with a friend of mine who celebrates it It just seemed interesting; we always hear about Christmas, but what other things are being celebrated right now that we don't even know about? And just because it's not the big American holiday doesn't mean it's not something interesting, not something you can't learn from."

Dominique Alexis, 19, Student  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"I'm West Indian and Kwanzaa's not really a West Indian thing. We just celebrate Christmas, we do it old school But I know a lot of my African friends, they definitely celebrate it. They do the whole seven days and dress up — it's really nice. I think we should do something on Howard's campus because, you know, we're an HBCU."

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Kevin Peterman, 18, Student  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root  

"Being a person who's spiritually rooted — [Kwanzaa] doesn't have a spiritual root. I guess it does have a spiritual sense of it, but it isn't rooted in any type of spiritual religion per se. I just don't choose to celebrate it." 

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Jasper Henderson, 19, Student  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"My mother, she was very hard on trying to make us celebrate Kwanzaa. She felt that it was more important than Christmas. Kwanzaa has more definition of life — Christmas is just presents … The way I was raised, my mom didn't really celebrate Christmas — it was overrated to her."

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Alexis Bowman, 19, Student  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"There's no specific reason [I don't celebrate Kwanzaa]. I was just brought up celebrating Christmas because of my religion. Different religions celebrate different things, so I'm not going to say that that holiday isn't important. If people want to celebrate Kwanzaa, that's completely their decision."

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Joe Brooks*  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"Kwanzaa brings you back to your roots. Kwanzaa's different from any other holiday because you sit down and you discuss a lot of things that happened in the past in relation to your family history. You go back to the struggle that you've been through. You really have to take time out and stress to the young kids what's really going on, what it actually means. It's not just a holiday to celebrate. You celebrate, but you don't celebrate it with gifts; you celebrate it as a history thing to make you more aware." *Brooks declined to give his age and occupation.

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Kara Chambers, 26, Administrative Assistant  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"Honestly, I really don't celebrate it. I've learned about it a little bit in school, and that's pretty much the gist of it. It's just not a family tradition."

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Melissa Lawrence, 30, Receptionist  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"Somewhere — I believe Africa or Switzerland — somewhere [Kwanzaa is] relevant to them. So, I would recognize it as a holiday."

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Marcus Finley, 27, Web Development Consultant  

Meredith Rizzo/The Root

"I think it's more like an accessory holiday. It's kind of like part of the whole end-of-the-holiday-season, kind-of-complementary [holiday]. There are so many holidays going on. You have Hanukkah and Christmas and Kwanzaa. It's just in the season of giving and giving back — and love and family."