This post was written by Cindy Young, the manager of technical design at Tea.
I came to the United States from China when I was 9 years old. Growing up in San Francisco, a city with diverse cultures and a large Asian population provided me with great comfort while assimilating into the new American culture. My first exposure to Christmas came through school, where we celebrated togetherness, exchanged gifts, decorated the room with lights and ornaments, listened to joyous music, and enjoyed lots of festivities and yummy treats; very similar to Chinese New Year actually. The jolly ole Saint Nick character was different though …
My family continued to celebrate Christmas to share in the experience with our American friends. Six years ago, I married my husband Brent, who is an American from Scottish/English and Greek descent. His family is not religious and predominantly follows the American traditions for the holiday spirit. They have a set of consistent traditions with the main focus being on family. Generally, they aim to do fun and meaningful, but traditional, activities together such as decorating the tree, enjoying a nice formal dinner at home on Christmas Eve, going to Christmas plays or concerts, and laughing while frantically wrapping any last minute presents. On the big day, they take turns opening stockings and gifts before enjoying a hearty and delightful brunch with a delicious spread of food and Stollen (a traditional German loaf-shaped cake containing dried fruit, and covered with powdered sugar). They then call family and friends to wish them Merry Christmas, share stories from the morning, and catch up from when they last spoke. Fully spent, everyone then takes a nap to re-energize for an evening of enjoying each other’s company while watching movies and eating popcorn at home.
The shopping is done and presents are wrapped (hopefully!) so now it’s time to embrace the holiday spirit! At Tea, we all have different ways that we celebrate the holidays. Below some of our staffed shared their favorite festive traditions. Some are funny, quirky, or sweet, but all reflect the season’s spirit of family and charitable giving.
“My Nonna would always take us to the toy store to pick out presents for children at an orphanage her church worked with. Even though I did not know these children, I remember being super concerned about whether or not they would like the presents. I put a lot of care and effort into picking out just the right toys. We’d also carefully wrap each present, which was equally as important to me. I hand colored all the wrapping paper and made sure each present looked ‘perfect’.” Katy, Designer
“Every winter my family makes Chinese Winter Balls. These are balls of dough that you eat with a cabbage broth. The production and consumption of these winter balls happens right when it starts to be winter so a Winter Solstice- like tradition. Making these balls is a huge production, you have people mixing dough and kids running around with sticky hands, but all the work is worth it. Nothing says winter like eating Winter Balls. There is also a dessert version of the balls with peanut butter or seasame paste injected inside the balls that you drink with a sweet/sugary broth.” Priscilla, Customer Service
“Every year, we arrange the little snow village up on top of the piano decked with all the tiny porcelain houses, figurines and snow covered trees as possible. My sister and I also like to watch White Christmas and sing along to it.” Isabelle, Tech Designer
“Every year we have a Mexican Feast for Christmas dinner. We also make our own wrapping paper, either by carving and printing stamps or hand drawing it.” Amber, Textile Designer
“My family prepares a traditional Polish meal every Christmas Eve. The recipes have been handed down from generations and consist of potato and cottage cheese filled pierogi and a mushroom borscht soup which takes 2 days to prepare. Yum! I can’t wait to eat it soon.” Laura, VP of Design
“We just started to have a special brunch on Christmas, just the 3 of us, me my husband, and my son, a couple of years ago.” – Eva, Product Development and Production
“Christmas Eve we sit down with the kids and read about the meaning of Christmas and giving, read “Twas the night before Christmas” and sing carols. Then leave cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots out for the reindeer.” – Cristina, Tech Designer
“My husband’s family is from Uruguay so we make cookies called alfajores as gifts for the holiday season. Alfajores are a sweet sandwich cookie featuring a layer of dulce de leche, in the middle of two sweet biscuits and coated with chocolate or sprinkled with powdered sugar.” – Tracy, Head of Production & Technical Design
We hope you enjoyed learning about the yearly traditions that our staff cherishes. We wish you a holiday filled with cheer, warmth, and lots of great memories.
Please share with us below, what’s your family’s favorite holiday tradition?
from Tea’s inspiration trip photos
While we decided to go with a less traditional color palette for our holiday collection this year, Mexico was still filled with red & green inspiration that we wanted to share with you. Come back tomorrow for the inspiration behind our Highland Holiday color palette.
Did you know the poinsettia is indigenous to Mexico, where they call it ”Noche Buena,” meaning Christmas Eve? The association of the poinsettia with Christmas began in Mexico. Can you see the poinsettia influence in some of the Mexican floral motifs?
Behind the Design Bonus: Día de los Muertos Downloadable Puzzle
A little while back, we wrote about how much we enjoyed our trip to Mexico City. We had a particularly fun day on a colorful boat made even more memorable by the mariachi band that played for us from their very own boat. We took that fabuloso experience and gave it a little Day of the Dead twist by turning our band into a trio of skeletons on the Mariachi en Barco Tee.
On November 2nd (not coincidentally close to Halloween), the Día de los Muertos holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico and in many Latino communities around the world (and here in San Francisco).
On the San Francisco site, I learned that “Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to our honoring our ancestors. In Mexico, neighbors gather in local cemeteries to share food, music, and fun with their extended community, both living and departed. The celebration acknowledges that we still have a relationship with our ancestors and loved ones that have passed away.
In San Francisco, Day of the Dead has been celebrated in the Mission district since the early 70s with art, music, performances and a walking procession.”
Help your kids learn about and honor their own ancestors with this Día de los Muertos puzzle from our Modern Mexico Activity Book. Just click on the image below and print it out at your favorite size.
I’ll be thinking about my loved ones too – especially my grandmother Mabel, who passed away 2 years ago at the age of 97 in Tucson, Arizona, very close to the time of the Day of the Dead.
“Inspiring Moms” Contest
PLEASE REVIEW THESE OFFICIAL RULES BEFORE ENTERING THE CONTEST. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
NO PAYMENT OR PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO WIN. PAYMENT OR PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
- Who Can Enter. The Contest is open only to natural persons who, as of the date of entry, are legal residents of the 50 United States (including the District of Columbia), are at least eighteen (18) years old, and have Internet access and a Facebook account. Employees, officers and directors of Sponsor, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and their partners (including store owners), suppliers, or advertising, promotion, and fulfillment agencies are not eligible to enter or win, nor are their immediate family members or members of their household. “Immediate family members” shall mean parents, step-parents, legal guardians, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, or spouses. “Household members” shall mean those people who share the same residence at least three months a year.
- How To Nominate an Inspiring Mom: Nominations for the Contest (each, a “Nomination”) will be accepted starting at [time] Pacific Time (PT) on October 12, 2012 and ending at 11:59 p.m. PT on October 23, 2012 (the “Nomination Period”). A person who submits a Nomination is referred to in these Official Rules as a “Nominator.” To nominate an Inspiring Mom, visit www.facebook.com/teacollection and follow the links and instructions to nominate the person you wish to submit for the Contest (the “Nominee”). You can nominate a Nominee in one of three categories:
- Globetrotter: A mom who instills the values of raising little citizens of the world – whether it be through traveling or living abroad or teaching her kids about global cultures through training and discovery.
- Making a Difference: A mom who is involved in her community and is working to solve problems locally or globally, whether by working with a community organization or running a nonprofit.
- Mompreneur: A mom who pursues her business or profession with passion and excels at work/home balance.
When you submit a Nomination, you must provide the Nominee’s name and email address, your own name and email address, and a description of the Nominee’s accomplishments (a “Narrative”); if the Nominee has a Twitter handle, you can provide that at your option. Together, the Narrative and contact information you submit is called the “Submission.” You may nominate more than one Nominee, but you may not nominate an individual Nominee more than once. If you nominate the same individual Nominee more than once, only the first Nomination will count. The submission of a Nomination is solely the responsibility of the Nominator, and Nominations can be made only using the method described above.
- Selection of Semifinalists: All Submissions in each category will be judged by two (2) of Sponsor’s staff (each, a “Judge”). For each category, the Judges will select five (5) semifinalists from among all eligible Submissions received in that category by the end of the Nominating Period. Each Judge will score the eligible Submissions on three general criteria and two category-specific criteria, all weighted equally. The judging criteria are:
- How much does she inspire you?
- How often does she “go there” – either across the street or across the globe to raise her kids as little citizens of the world?
- Does she have good work/life balance?
- Has she found new and innovative ways to introduce her children to different cultures?
- Does she try to bring her children with her when she travels internationally?
Making a Difference:
- Is she making a difference in her community?
- Is she a setting a good example for her children of why volunteering and helping your community is important?
- Is her company making a difference for its customers?
- Is she setting a good example of entrepreneurial independence for her children?
Each Judge will award up to 10 points per criterion, for a maximum possible total of 50 points, and the scores of the Judges will be added to determine a Submission’s total score. If there is a tie, the tied entries will be rescored as described above by Sponsor’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer.
- Selection of Finalists: Nominees who are selected as semifinalists will receive an email from Sponsor on or about October 26, 2012 notifying them that they have been selected. The Nominee can either accept or reject the Nomination by replying to the email and taking the following steps:
- To reject a Nomination, reply to the email with the word “REJECT” in the subject line.
- To accept a Nomination: (1) No later than 5 pm PT on October 29, 2012, reply to the email with the word “ACCEPT” in the subject line; and (2) no later than 5 pm PT on October 30, 2012, send Sponsor a picture that can be used in connection with judging and published on Sponsor’s Facebook page and website. Nominees can, at their option, also provide Sponsor with their Facebook, Twitter and other social media handles, but failure to provide handles will not disqualify a Nominee.
Semifinalists who accept their Nominations as described above will be judged by two (2) Judges selected by Sponsor as embodying the qualities of the applicable category. Each Judge will review the semifinal entries in her category and score them on the general and category-specific criteria described in Section 4, awarding up to 10 points per criterion for a maximum possible score of 50 points. The two Judges’ scores will be added to determine a semifinalist’s total score. The semifinalists with the top three (3) scores in each category will become finalists. In the event of a tie, the applicable Submissions will be rescored as described above by Sponsor’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer.
- Selection of Winners: Finalists will be announced and their Submissions posted on Sponsor’s Facebook page on or about November 1, 2012. Starting when the finalists are posted and ending at 11:59 pm PT on November 15, 2012 (the “Public Voting Phase”), members of the public (“Voters”) may visit Sponsor’s Facebook page, view the finalists’ Submissions, and vote for the finalist in each category that the Voter believes best embody the values of the Tea brand and the judging criteria for that category. The Nominee who receives the highest number of votes in each category during the Public Voting Period will be named as the potential Grand Prize Winner for that category, subject to verification. In the event of a tie, Sponsor’s CEO and Chief Creative Officer will choose the potential Grand Prize Winner by scoring the tied entries as described in Section 4 above.
- 7. Prizes: Three (3) Grand Prizes: The Grand Prize Winner in each category will win the opportunity to have Sponsor make a $1,000 donation to the children’s charitable organization of her choice. Donations will be made directly by Sponsor to qualifying charitable organizations, and no funds will be provided to the Grand Prize Winners. In order to qualify, the charitable organization must be a valid 501(c)(3) organization whose primary mission involves working for the benefit of children. Decisions about whether a charity qualifies for a donation will be made by Sponsor in its sole discretion. One (1) Nominator Prize: Each Nominator who submits a valid Nomination during the Nomination Period will receive a chance to win a $250 Tea Collection gift certificate, good at www.teacollection.com. The winner of the Nominator Prize will be chosen at random from all valid Nominations received; odds of winning depend on the number of valid Nominations received during the Nomination Period.
- Prize Terms: All prize values are stated in United States dollars. If a stated prize is unavailable, Sponsor has the right to substitute one or more items of equal or greater value, in its sole and absolute discretion. No prize is exchangeable, transferrable, or redeemable for cash. The winner will be solely responsible for complying with any and all applicable federal, state, provincial, local or other statutes, regulations, and other laws and for bearing any personal income, VAT, withholding taxes, customs duties, or other taxes, fees, insurance, surcharges or other costs relating to any prize. THE PRIZE(S) WILL BE GIVEN AWAY BY THE SPONSOR “AS IS.” SPONSOR DOES NOT MAKE AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, REGARDING ANY PRIZE OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY IMPLIED OR STATUTORY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT.
- Award of Prize: The Grand Prize winners and Nominator Prize Winner will be selected on or about November 16, 2012. The potential winners will be notified by email within fourteen (14) days of selection. PLEASE NOTE: EVEN IF YOUR NOMINATION IS CHOSEN AS A POTENTIAL GRAND PRIZE WINNER AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC VOTING PERIOD, YOU HAVE NOT YET WON A PRIZE. POTENTIAL WINNERS ARE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF ELIGIBILITY BY THE SPONSOR BEFORE ANY PRIZE IS AWARDED. The potential winners may required to sign and return, when requested, an affidavit of eligibility and/or publicity and/or liability release form, to the extent not prohibited by law, prior to receipt of a prize. The winner must take possession of the prize as directed by Sponsor. The winner may be required to provide Sponsor with his or her social security or taxpayer identification number for tax purposes. The winner may also be required to provide Sponsor with proof that he or she is the Authorized Account Holder of the email address associated with the winning entry. An “Authorized Account Holder” is the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses to the domain associated with the email address. In the event of a dispute, an entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the Authorized Account Holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. Failure to respond to the winner announcement or return any required declarations or releases within seven (7) days (or any longer time specified by Sponsor in its sole discretion) or to comply with any of the foregoing, may result in disqualification and the selection of an alternate winner.
- Representations: By entering the Contest, each entrant represents and warrants that: (a) the entrant meets all eligibility requirements of the Contest; (b) in entering and participating in the Contest, the entrant has complied with and will comply in all respects with these Rules and all applicable statutes, regulations and other laws; and (c) the information provided in the entrant’s entry, including without limitation all contact information and all information about the identity of the person who took the photo that is part of the Submission, is true, accurate and complete in all respects. Each Nominator further represents and warrants that (a) the Narrative submitted by the Nominator is true and correct, and (b) the Narrative is the Nominator’s original work and does not infringe the intellectual property or other legal rights of any third party. Each Nominee further represents and warrants, by accepting the Nomination, that (x) she has reviewed and approved the Submission and it is true and correct; (y) she agrees to these Official Rules; and (z) she has obtained all necessary permissions regarding the photo submitted in connection with her nomination, including but not limited to any permissions from the photographer and any other person pictured, and can grant rights in the photo to Sponsor as described in these Official Rules.
- Release: To the maximum extent permitted by law, by entering the Contest, each Nominator and Nominee (each, an “entrant”) releases and holds harmless the Sponsor, the prize manufacturers or suppliers, any other entities involved in the administration of the Contest, each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (the “Sponsor Parties”) from any and all responsibility, liability, damages (including without limitation direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive, statutory and other damages), losses, costs, or expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to: (a) the Contest and participation in the Contest by the entrant; (b) any violation by the entrant of these Rules or applicable laws; (c) the acceptance, possession, receipt, or use of any prize or any item purchased with any prize; (d) any entries that have been tampered with or that are misdirected, incomplete, non-conforming, corrupt, lost, late, or ineligible; (e) any problems or technical malfunctions (including but not limited to errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, or delays in operation or transmission) of any computer, telephone, modem, cable, satellite, network, hardware, online system, server, software, or other equipment or provider, including any incorrect, incomplete, garbled or jumbled information resulting therefrom; (f) any Internet traffic congestion or website accessibility or delays; (g) printing or typographical errors in any Contest-related materials; or (h) any other technical or human error that may occur in connection with the Contest (the “Causes”). If anyone makes any claim against any of the Sponsor Parties arising out of or relating to any of the Causes attributable to the entrant, the entrant will pay for any damages, losses, liabilities, costs, penalties, and expenses, including without limitation attorneys’ and experts’ fees and costs, incurred in connection with such claim. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, THE SPONSOR PARTIES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOST PROFITS OR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE CONTEST, HOWSOEVER CAUSED, WHETHER ARISING IN STATUTE, TORT, CONTRACT, OR OTHER LEGAL THEORY, AND ALL SUCH DAMAGES ARE HEREBY DISCLAIMED AND EXCLUDED.
- Termination: The Sponsor reserves the right to suspend, modify or terminate the Contest at any time and for any reason in its sole discretion, including without limitation in the event of fraud, abuse, tampering, or technical, administrative, financial or other difficulties. In such cases, Sponsor will post notice on the Contest page of the Sponsor Site. Should the Contest terminate prior to selection of a winner, Sponsor will announce an alternate means of awarding the prize on the Contest page of the Sponsor Site.
- Miscellaneous: Any dispute between Sponsor and an entrant arising out of or relating to these Rules, the Contest, or any prize must be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts located in the City and County of San Francisco, California and must be brought individually, without resort to any form of class action. By entering the Contest, each entrant submits to the jurisdiction of those courts and waives any objection to those courts, whether on the basis of jurisdiction, venue, inconvenience of the forum, or otherwise. If any part of these Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, such part will be modified by such court to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable while preserving to the maximum extent possible the original intent of Sponsor, and the remaining parts of these Rules will remain in full force and effect. Nothing contained herein or in any of the Contest related materials should be construed as an endorsement by Sponsor of any third party, product or service.
- Sponsor: Tea, 1 Arkansas St, Suite B, San Francisco, CA 94107; 415-621-9400.
- For Winners’ Names: Winners’ names will be available after November 30, 2012. For a list of winners’ names, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Tea, attn: Inspiring Moms Contest Winners, 1 Arkansas St, Suite B, San Francisco, CA 94107, by December 31, 2012.
We have our own New Year’s traditions in the USA. In almost every major city there is a grand firework display. People gather around their TVs to watch the ball drop in Times Square, and champagne is the drink of choice. We have hats and glasses, noisemakers and confetti. In many parts of the USA eating black eyed peas is rumored to bring you good luck, and they’re often served with collard greens and pork or ham. We make resolutions for the New Year, and kiss each other at midnight.
But what are other countries’ traditions around this date?
At midnight on January 1st, Buddhist temples across Japan ring their bells 108 times, to ward off the 108 sins in Buddhist belief. Traditional food on this date is a dish of seaweed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato, burdock root, and sweetened black soybeans, called osechi, as well as kagami mochi, which are rice cakes topped with oranges. Postcards are sent to friends and family celebrating the New Year, and haiku poetry is celebrated with themes of new beginnings.
In Mexico it’s traditional to eat 12 grapes at the chimes of midnight, making a wish with each one. Houses are decorated in the color red, and wishes are made for the New Year. In Mexico City the New Year celebrations occur in Zocalo, which is the main large plaza of the city.
In Finland there is an old New Year’s eve tradition that involves dropping hot pieces of tin into cold buckets of water. The shape that they assume can be interpreted as indications of the New Year. Different shapes have different meaning, signifying wealth, happiness, sickness, sorrow, and love.
Scotland has a New Year’s Eve tradition referred to as “first-footing”. The first-footer is the first person to cross the threshold and enter a house in the New Year. Signifying a bearer of good luck, the first footer (often young and dark-haired) carries with them a coin, bread, salt, whisky, or coal, depending on what the family is wishing for in the New year.
Panama celebrates the New Year by the burning of Muñecos, effigies of celebrities or politicians during bonfire parties. Contests are held as to who has the best muñeco. The burning of muñecos is believed to fight off evil spirits in preparation for a new year.
Let’s say Happy New Year! in:
Gleðilegt nýtt ár! (Icelandic)
Bonne Annee! (French)
Feliz Ano-Nuevo! (Spanish)
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! (Welsh)
Gelillog Nieuwjaar! (Dutch)
Sretna Nova Godina (Croatian)
Sawadee Pee Mai (Thai)
And from all of us at Tea – Best Wishes for a very happy New Year!
Posted by: michelle
Time: 2:59 PM
For this Holiday season, we were inspired by the Maramures people of Translyvania. Located in the northwestern region of Romania, the Maramures live in villages where countless century-old traditions are still encorporated into daily routines.
During celebrations, the Maramures wear their traditional costume, which is primarily black and white with hints of red. We love this classic outfit because of the mix of plush textures and the heavy embroidered embellishments.
While this influence is found throughout our entire Hungarian Holiday collection, the Bucharest Floral dress reflects our true love of these Maramures traditional outfits. With an elegant embroidered pattern and texture on plush velvet, the Bucharest Floral dress is the perfect party dress!
To share our love for these Maramures traditions, we are now offering the Bucharest Floral dress at the great price of $49.50! Regularly $85, this promotional price is available on our website and at participating retailers [see below]Ladybugs & Lizards Children’s Boutique
1389 E. 15th Street Suite 128
Edmond, OK 73013
Donna Ryan Photography and Boutique
5218 42nd Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98136
The Lolly Garden
2046 Utica Square
Tulsa, OK 74114
533 Main Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
1324 Foothill Blvd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
147 North NW Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068
1070 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Lil’ Lamb Shop
167 Jennifer Road Suite Q
Annapolis, MD 21401
107 S. Fair Oaks Ave Suite 107
Pasadena, CA 91105
1801 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
819 W. Idaho St.
Boise, ID 83702
5407 N. Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
2060 N. Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
4 N. Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Rocky Mountain Kids
2525 Arapahoe Ave # H12a
Boulder, CO 80302-7867
508 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
2623 Montrose Ave
Abbotsford, BC Canada
My Little One
123 Waite Ave North
Waite Park, MN 56387
I can’t believe it’s December already. Really starting to feel like the holidays around here. Wanted to share some beautiful crafts and traditions from our current destination, Old World Hungary (which includes Croatia and Romania too).
Licitar is a beautifully decorated, edible ornament that most commonly comes in a heart shape. The heart shape is a traditional symbol of the city of Zagreb – it represents the warmth of the city and its people. They are given as a symbol of love for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, Valentines Day and other holidays. Making the ornaments is highly involved and extremely time consuming (it can can take over a month). The tradition dates all the way back to the 14th century.
Traditionally, Hungarian women used reverse felt applique to decorate clothing. Eventually they adapted the technique to make beautiful applique ornaments. Ornaments have a variety of motifs which can represent different regions. Learn to make your own appliqued heart ornament here.
Heart ornaments are a traditional Hungarian ornament around the holidays. Matyó Ornaments use originated in the Matyó region in Northern Hungary and use their embroidery techniques.
sources and further reading:
Croatian Tourism, Zagreb, Croatia
Great site about licitar, Licitar
more info on licitar, Wikipedia
more info on licitar Hearts, about.com
Croatian Souvenier, Rina Travel
Info on Matyó Embroidery: Hungarian Embroidery and Folk Arts
About Reverse Felt Applique: National Geographic
Guest Blogger Julia Pimsleur Levine, founder of Little Pim
I think the holidays are a great launching pad to ask my kids to imagine what children in other countries are doing during this special time. Are they counting down to Hanukkah or Christmas in December? Is “The Big” day December 25th or a different day? At the holidays you can teach your kids about traditions around the world, and you can play the “same or different game” by telling them about foods, stories and festivities in other countries and asking how they compare to your family’s traditions. You will likely find that all around the world kids are eating special foods, exchanging gifts and making traditional treats.
In FRANCE families eat a special holiday dessert called Bûche de Noël (pronounced “booche de no-el”), which means “Christmas log”. It’s a very sweet cake, shaped like a log from the fireplace! It’s made of layers of sponge cake and sweet chocolate icing wrapped into a cylinder. Want to make your own? Here is the recipe for Bûche de Noël.
In SPAIN, The Three Wise Men bring gifts to children on Christmas morning, but celebrations continue long after December 25th. On January 5th, The Eve of Epiphany, children fill their shoes with straw and place them on the doorstep. Legend tells that the Magi traveled through Spain in the dead of night to reach Bethlehem. On the morning of January 6th, the holiday Epiphany, children wake to find presents in their shoes.
In CHINA, as most Chinese people are not Christian, the main winter festival is The Chinese New Year, which takes place toward the end of January. Kids decorate their houses with beautiful paper lanterns. Many Chinese children also hang stockings and wait for Santa Claus, whom they call Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run), which means “Christmas Old Man.” Santa Claus is also called Lan Khoong-Khoong, “Nice Old Father.”
In RUSSIA, the chief winter holiday is New Year’s Eve.
Families decorate a New Years tree and make Salad Olivier, a delicacy composed of diced meat, veggies and potatoes all slathered in Mayo. Grandfather Frost (‘Dyed MOR- oz”) delivers presents to good children, aided by The Snow Princess (“Sneh-GU-ratch-ka”).
We have made our own traditions for the holidays. One of them is that we always make yummy butter cookies with my mother, and even more fun making them disappear! We celebrate Hanukah by lighting candles and giving each other gifts on seven nights, but on one of the eight nights, we give away a toy to less fortunate children. My 6-year-old son really loves this now, and talks about what toy to give away for weeks leading up to the big night! I don’t know how well my two-year old will do with this, given that his favorite word is still “mine!”
Do you have a special family tradition? Have you ever spent the holidays in another country and had a totally different experience from the holidays in America? If so, share those experiences with your child and have fun exploring, baking, and learning about other cultures.
About Little Pim:
The Little Pim: fun with languages series provides materials for parents who wish to introduce their children a foreign language at the time they learn best, which is before the age of six. Go to LittlePim.com for samples of all ten languages available, free tips, printables and games.
Perhaps you received our email today? We’re stomping with joy and excitement as the holidays draw closer. In fact, Hanukkah just started last night. So for everyone who’s in the shopping or gifting mood, it’s time to think outside the (paper) box for wrapping ideas.
Have you ever thought about wrapping gifts in something other than paper? From The Green Spot, we learned that during the winter holidays, 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags are thrown away. The Daily Green also has lots of great green wrapping tips too.
At Tea, we created our signature Furoshiki Gift Wrap not only to be beautiful, but to be reusable. We were inspired by the artful Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in beautiful swaths of cloth.
Other fun ideas:
– Turn your paper shopping bags inside out and inside out and add a bit of artistry with holiday-themed sketches or rubber stamps
– Use pages from old magazines – Katy likes to do a different color scheme for each person on her list: in shades of green for one person, shades of pink for another. They usually look really pretty and have a nice cohesive feeling.
– We like to use our own graphics and prints and print them out as wrapping paper. You could even use some of the Old World Hungary inspired coloring pages we’ve been publishing on the blog throughout the fall and holiday seasons. Or simply take any of your kids’ artistic creations and turn them into wrapping paper. Wouldn’t it be fun to get a present wrapped in your own artwork? Pretty cool.
Happy wrapping! We’d love to hear about some of your creative or eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas.