The Jolly Holly Days

Well, culture girls, it’s almost that time of year again! We’re about to start heading into a full-on holiday season trainwreck. In less than a month, we’ll be celebrating Halloween. Shortly thereafter, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving to be followed by Christmas. We’ll see more friends, family, fun, and culture in one place than we ever thought could be possible. In America, we are accustomed to the usual thrills, chills, and, even the unfortunate ills commonly associated with Christmas and the holiday season. Here, we start selling Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. If you know how or why that makes sense, then I would love to know!

What’s interesting about American culture during the holiday seasons is that we are so consumed in gift giving and gift receiving that we forget that the traditions are different around the world. Did you know that most Asian country populations do not spend their Christmases with family? Instead, they spend the holiday with their boyfriends, girlfriends, or friends! In the U.S., Christmas and the other holidays seem to be so centralized on the family – on Thanksgiving, we sit around a huge table with a big feast where the whole family contributes to conversation. Even on Christmas, the family is the center of the celebration.

I grew up a little differently. My Christmases as a child were filled with tamales, extended family members, and a whole lot of karaoke throughout the day and night (in Spanish, mind you!). Completely crazy, at least in the eyes of traditional American culture. While many children left cookies and milk for Santa, I left sweet bread and “champurrado,” or a hot-chocolate atole. Many children wake up extra early to see what Santa left for them under the tree. My family, on the contrary, waits for the strike of midnight to open the presents, fueling our impatience. However, the wait is well worth it because we get to have the sweetest Spanish treats, gift exchanges, and games (because, you know, we have to pass the time until we can open gifts anyway!).

Christmas is celebrated differently all around the globe and having to celebrate it differently than most is way more cool than celebrating it the same as others. I know it seems crazy that not even Halloween has passed and I am already thinking about Christmas – but when aren’t you thinking about Christmas? To be honest, we all want the gift exchanges, the snow, the hot cocoa, the school breaks, and the closeness to our loved ones. Happy early Christmas, culture girls! It’s never too early to start giving you well wishes for the upcoming holidays! Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Joyeux Noel. Mele Kalikimake. Buona Natale. Sub Naya Baras. Feliz Natal. Kurisumaso Oedeto. Froehliche Weihnachten.



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