What does your Santa look like?
This is such a broad word. I could talk about culture of an era, culture in the streets of a city, or culture of different countries as a whole. Do we even realize what’s cultural and what’s common sense? We are all humans after all. But what some consider common knowledge or courtesy, others don’t regard with any importance. The only way to truly find out is to travel! Get exposed to different ways of life. I never thought I’d get used to living in a culture where cat-calling wasn’t considered rude, and where it’s impolite to say ‘no’ to an offering without giving legitimate reasoning for the decline. Well, when your off in another place, you have to adapt to those cultural changes of every day living. But it gives a perspective of ways to view certain mannerisms.
With the Christmas season approaching though, I want to hone in on some activities that take place in my home (cultural or just family traditions? Who knows?) during the winter season that you can try out, too!
- Decorating the tree as a family— Keyword ‘family.’ My mom, dad, sister and I always decorate the tree together. It’s just something we must do. Our homemade, school-made, meaningful ornaments definitely outweigh the cliche ball ornaments. My dad goes out and buys a real tree, and 2-3 days later we make it our own and customize it with priceless ornaments— like my Samantha American Girl Doll one I received one year, or the Polar Express light-up one, or my awful preschool mugshot hanging from a pipe-cleaner.
- Matching pajamas— since we have gotten older, the tradition has been harder to keep, but we still try. My cousins, my sister, and I all get matching pajamas to wear when we get together for the Christmas holiday. We take a family photo and it’s so fun just to bask in the holiday spirit of family and love.
- Making cookies for Santa— a must. Cookies and milk are left for Santa every year. Some years it’s chocolate chip, some years it’s snickerdoodle, and sometimes we just go crazy with icing!
Is this stuff cultural? Or is just my family? It’s a very faded line. There are plenty of families in the U.S. that don’t carry out these activities, so is it “An American thing” or not? Some may say these things are pretty typical, but in Central America, Santa doesn’t come down a chimney, nor does he likes cookies. Some families open presents at midnight, not Christmas morning, like my family does. But then again I have friends from the same town as me that open presents on Christmas Eve. So what is it? Cultural? Traditional? Preference?
- Watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’— This has to happen at some point during the days leading up to Christmas. As one of my dad’s favorite movies of all time, hence my dog’s name, Zuzu, this movie gathers my family on the couch every winter season.
- Hang stockings from the fireplace— Okay this sounds so traditional, but we do it! We have a fireplace in my family room that we hang our stockings from
every year. And above the fireplace, on the mantelpiece stands my parent’s collection of nutcrackers, some creepy, some cute, but hey, it has meaning. They have one for each year they have been married; this year they will buy their 22nd!
Although with travel I like to think I have become more broad-minded and perceptive, I still carry a special love for my homeland.
We all have cultural norms, and the best way to broaden your mind is to accept those different than your own. And this goes for beliefs, opinions, choices, etc. You don’t need to understand, just accept.