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Gift Giving and Holiday Traditions

Gift Giving and Holiday Traditions

Nowadays, Christmas is not celebrated only as a religious holiday, and there are many traditions that people from all over the world have adopted. At this time of year, families get together, eat unique dishes, and exchange gifts. Talking to our teammates at EF Teach Online, we have realized that each family and each culture adds a special touch to the holiday season. So, let’s see what insights they have to share. 


Picking the perfect gift – Christine   

I love picking fitting and unique gifts for family members at Christmas time! I keep a running list of gift ideas all year long, so I have many options to choose from at the end of the year. It’s fun to choose a gift that reflects the interests or personality of the recipient. For example, I’ll be gifting my mother-in-law and father-in-law a framed genealogy tree this year. And for my sister, who loves baking cakes, I bought a recipe book for ice cream cakes (hoping to up the challenge for her). For another family member who loves chess, I found a USB stick that looks like a chess piece. Gift-giving is a way for me to show I care and express a little creativity simultaneously!   


Spending time with family – Winnie   

On Christmas Eve in Shanghai, I usually take my family to the local Christmas market; we enjoy mulled wine, and chocolates and share interesting things that have happened during the year. Then, in the evening, I quietly place a Christmas gift in my son’s stocking. I look forward to seeing the expression on his face when he finds the present the following day. For us, Christmas is all about warmth, surprise, and happiness!   


Exchanging gifts – Matina   

In Greece, we don’t open Christmas presents on Christmas day but on New Year’s day! This is because January 1st is St. Basil’s name day. He was a man who dedicated his life to helping the poor and those in need, so he was the one in charge of bringing presents to the children. Nowadays, things are more flexible, with families opening presents on Christmas or New Year’s, and sometimes, they get two, one for each day!  


Unusual holiday traditions – Bea  

Before relocating to Switzerland, I lived in Barcelona, Spain, where they have particular traditions during the holiday season. In Catalonia, different traditions involve the number two (if you know what I mean). One of these traditions is the Caga Tió, which means “Pooping Uncle”. Traditionally it was a piece of wood covered by a blanket and the children ‘feed’ with candies and nougat before Christmas. Then, on Christmas day, they hit the Tió with a stick and sing a song so that it ‘poops’ candies and nougats for them. Nowadays the wood is decorated with a smiley face, a hat similar to that of Santa Claus, placed under the Christmas tree, and ‘fed’ candy. Even now that I’m away, I still keep my Tió under the tree.    

Happy Holidays! 


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