Holiday traditions differ from nationality, religion, and family and we discovered quite a few different traditions within CCI Greenheart. So here are some traditions, from our family to yours.

By Amber Hayes, Cultural Outreach Assistant

“We like to open up one gift on Christmas Eve (which is always pajamas). For breakfast we eat Caramel pull apart or Monkey bread. After opening the presents the ladies like to do a puzzle together.” – Shawna

“In my family an ongoing tradition is that we get together every Christmas eve with my grandma’s side of the family – her brother and sisters, their kids and their kid’s kids. This tradition has been happening since my mom, aunts, and uncles were little. It’s pot luck style and Santa Clause even makes a visit to pass out gifts to everyone. My grandma and grandpa used to host the party but over the years families have kept growing so now we rent out a hall.” – Ariana

“My favorite New Year’s tradition is to make goal boards with my family. We cut out photos from magazines that represent our goals for the year, and then we share them with each-other. I love doing this because then I have a mini support group for my dreams for the year to keep me on track, and I get to know what’s really important to my family members at the moment.“ – Kendra

“One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting together with my cousins to make Christmas cookies, something we’ve done since before we knew how to turn on the oven. Some of our favorites include toffee bars, candy cane cookies, and peanut butter kisses. A new tradition that my husband and I are starting this year is the lengthy yet worthwhile process of making two baked staples of any Venezuelan Christmas dinner- hallacas and pan de jamón.” – Melissa

“As New Years is such a big celebration in Japan, when I was an exchange student there in high school I was often asked ‘What do Americans do to celebrate New Year’s?’ Only knowing my family’s tradition, I explained ‘We gather with our family, eat corned beef and cabbage and watch football. My favorite part is the salad dressing.’ I did not realize that my Aunt Cathy’s New Year’s Day tradition was very Irish, (including her secret recipe for creamy garlic dressing) for my own Polish/Italian mixture, but now how a small pocket of Toyama expects all Americans to be spending 1/1 of every year.” – Renee

“My favorite part of the holidays is getting together with my family. Everyone is so involved in their daily lives and it is so hard for everyone to get together, but holidays are the perfect excuse.” – Abril

“The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my family goes together to chop down our Christmas tree and then we decorate it.” – Kaitlyn

“My favorite Christmas tradition is going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service in Wisconsin with my family – the way the candlelight flickers and dances with the shadows is breathtaking and otherworldly. From my recollection, no other Christmas tradition or memory really holds a candle to this one.” – Rachel

Want a story to tell your friends and family next holiday season? Consider the Work and Travel program for 2016!

Happy Holidays from Work and Travel!