The winter holidays are celebrated differently around the globe depending on culture, religion or family values.  Appreciating differences and sharing them is what cultural exchange is all about.   This past Fall, APIA Field Representatives and Senior Community Counselors, Cindy Garruba of Riverhead NY and Melinda Brooks of Boston, MA, presented a webinar to host families nationwide, entitled, “Holidays in Your Global Home.”  Here at GA, we wanted to share some wonderful take-aways from this webinar, in combination with some hot tips from the International Literacy Association about making the most of your global connection as we close out 2021.

10 Tips for Sharing Holiday Traditions (and Making New Ones) with Host Families
  1. Talk to one another about how you celebrate the holidays. Include some of traditions from both celebrations.  This is a great time to learn about another culture!
  2. Make a dish related to a holiday you celebrate. Write up a recipe card to share.
  3. Discuss similarities between different holidays. For example, many traditions incorporate the motif of light. Do a little digging around and research the cultural significance of these winter themes.
  4. Connect globally. Call schools or family members from your home country and set up a good time to share traditions virtually together.
  5. Head to the library and take out children’s books on the various holidays that introduce the family to different end-of-year celebrations across the world.
  6. Incorporate a geography and history lesson. Teach the kids about the origins of modern-day holiday traditions.
  7. Have everyone complete this writing prompt or write your own: If you could give a gift to everyone in the world, what would it be?
  8. Discuss the holiday preparations.  Decorating and baking are especially fun and can be done by all with the kids.
  9. Try to keep the kids on as much of a regular schedule as possible even with all the fun.  Kids will get overtired and cranky if there are too many activities.  Try to limit the activities to a few days of the week.
  10. Allow some downtime for kids with quiet activities like reading a holiday story or watching a holiday movie from your home country.