The holidays are just around the corner and I’m so excited to be able to celebrate with my baby girl. My husband and I now have the opportunity to create our own family traditions and teach our daughter values such as gratitude and generosity. I saw an adorable idea on pinterest where each Christmas Eve the parents give their child (or children) a box filled with pajamas, a new movie, and special sweet treat (I’m thinking chocolate – in particular Delysia’s Winter Truffle Collection, featuring mint, eggnog, and gingerbread). We’d also like to spend a few hours at a local food shelter when she gets a little older. So, in honor of us starting our own traditions, I wanted to share a few kid-centric holiday traditions from around the world.
Half of my family is Jewish, so I’m pretty familiar with Hanukkah. For eight days in either November or December, children celebrate by lighting a menorah each evening. They receive gifts and play with a dreidel to win foods such as nuts or chocolate coins. I didn’t know this fact, but in Israel children even get a week off from school!
Girls in Sweden celebrate Saint Lucia, on December 13, for St. Lucia Day. The girls will dress up as ‘brides’ with white gowns featuring red sashes and a wreath around their heads before waking up their families with songs and bringing them saffron buns called ‘Lucia cats’.
In France, I didn’t know that Christmas is called Noel. It is similar to how we celebrate here in the United States, but there are also some differences. On Christmas Eve, children leave their shoes by a fireplace that will be filled with gifts, fruits, nuts, and small toys. Instead of Christmas trees serving as the focal point, they have nativity scenes as the celebration hub.
In Ireland, Christmas festivities tend to be a bit more religious. The day after Christmas, also known as St. Stephen’s Day, Irish children go door to door singing with a stick that has a holly bush and wren on it. Children will ask for money for the ‘starving wren’, which goes into their pockets!
I’ve attended a few Chinese New Year celebrations, and they are beautiful! Children will wear new outfits (sometimes traditional, sometimes not) and wait excitedly to see the silk dragon dance. Children can ‘feed’ the dragon money for good luck in the New Year.
One tradition I’d really like to participate in some way in the future is Kwanzaa. Based off of ancient African harvest festivals, it celebrates ideas such as family and unity. To honor this holiday, children dress in special clothing, decorate homes with fruits, and light a candleholder called a kinara.
I hope you learned a little something along with me! Be sure to think about how our chocolates might be a wonderful addition to your family traditions this holiday season!