The holidays are often a joyous time of year for people to come together and spend time with their families and loved ones. Although each family spends these days differently depending on their culture, religious beliefs and personal family traditions, every tradition serves a purpose in bringing friends and family closer together.
Particularly when spending the holidays with different people, it can be stressful to try to adopt their specific traditions, but this becomes a lot easier when you learn to appreciate and celebrate the differences between families and cultures.
Family Photo Holiday Cards
As December nears, many families and couples take family photos with their kids and/or pets to print holidays cards to send to their distant friends and relatives. Sometimes, these pictures are in front of a holiday backdrop or with Santa Claus, and sometimes they involve wearing Christmas sweaters to really drive home the holiday theme. The photos can be anything from candid photos to cell phone pics.
Although some people love preparing these holiday cards, it can feel a little cheesy or silly to do if youíve never done so before. However, they serve as a nice annual photo with the family, and distant friends and relatives usually love the update on faces ó especially if there are kids or new pets to see.
Celebrating Christmas Eve
If youíre a Caucasian American who has never celebrated Christmas with a Latino family, spending Christmas with a Latino friend or significant other may come as a bit of a shock. In many Latino families, traditional Christmas celebrations are held on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. Some families make a dinner of several courses for the whole extended family, who gathers together to play games, eat food and open presents late in the evening, often at midnight.
Although this can seem strange when youíre used to opening presents in the morning on Christmas Day, hosting this celebration on Christmas Eve allows the evening to gradually build until itís time to open presents, and then the next day can be spent relaxing.
Prepping for Santa Claus
Other families spend Christmas Eve watching holidays films or telling Christmas stories about old Saint Nick. Families with children will often indulge in milk and cookies as they tell stories about how reindeer help Santa fly, and answer questions about how Santa delivers presents to children all around the world in just one night. Kids grow up learning stories that are based on folklore and magic, and their childhood holidays are shaped around the way these stories fit in their imagination. This time of year can provide teaching moments for parents and learning opportunities for kids and the whole family as well.
Secret Santa Gift Giving
Christmas is a financially stressful time of year for a lot of people, especially those with big families who feel the need to buy presents for every member of their family. Due to this, many families begin Secret Santa traditions in which each person buys one gift for a randomly selected member of the family. This can be a little strange if youíre used to giving and receiving lots of gifts, but it can relieve the stress of buying gifts from a lot of people, which can make the holidays easier to enjoy for more of your friends and family.
The holidays are an important time of year for a lot of people, whether for religious reasons or because itís a chance to feel closer to your family than you have all year. There are a lot of aspects about the holidays that can fun and special, even when they are stressful or a little different than what youíre used to. However, no matter how you celebrate the holidays, all that really matters is that youíre spending time with people you love. As you celebrate new traditions, learn to appreciate the differences about them that make them new and special.