There are so many wonderful aspects about the holidays. From starting new traditions with friends to returning home and engaging in nostalgic activities with family, this festive time of year reminds us that the most important gifts are those who we surround ourselves with. With holiday festivities starting as early as September in some parts of the world (yes, we’re serious -- check it out), it is safe to say that traditions vary from home to home, country to country, business to business.
Traditions: these have been around since, well, the beginning of time. Year after year, people engage in activities for religious reason, historical reason, nostalgic reason, or perhaps, no reason at all! One thing stands true: no matter where you go or who you encounter, traditions will be interlocked. Around the holidays, traditions become even more extreme, however, traditions are what make cultures UNIQUE and BEAUTIFUL.
Here are some of our favorite traditions around the world:
Ah, the Japanese culture; so beautiful and so elegant. Japan’s Christmas tradition -- one that has emerged only within the last few years -- may be one of our favorites. While Christmas isn’t that big of a deal in Japan, many Japanese families celebrate the day with none other than a Christmas feast from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Different from Japan, Norway’s holiday tradition dates back centuries. On Christmas Eve, Norwegians hide their broomsticks in the safest part of the house. It is believed that witches and evil spirits emerge on Christmas Eve and look for brooms to ride. The Norwegians do not want this to happen and hide their broomsticks for safe keeping!
Día de las Velitas, Little Candles Day, honors the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception. Candles and paper lanterns are decorated outside homes all throughout the cities in celebration. The tradition has grown massively and has become a staple of Colombia’s holiday season.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Here at COOLA, we practice our own traditions all year long, but one of our favorites falls right around the holiday season. Over the last three years, we have had the privilege of assisting military families through Spirit of Sharing. Spirit of Sharing, S.O.S., brings holiday magic to over 1,000 local military families in Southern California, including 971 military children. San Diego hosts a large military population and many of us at COOLA know people who have served our country making this organization hit a little closer to home.
Each December, COOLA “adopts” a military family through S.O.S. where we have the honor of meeting the family, interacting with them, and showering the children and parents with extra special gifts. Through donations, we are able to give back to military families that sacrifice so much for us. In addition to providing extra holiday cheer, S.O.S. provides emergency based assistance to military families 365 days a year. It is safe to say this local nonprofit is making a difference in the community.
In Southern California and want to help? Check out Spirit of Sharing’s website for all the ways you can get involved. Not in Southern California? That’s okay! There are so many local nonprofit organizations that could use your help.
Remember it’s never too late to start a new tradition!
Happy Holidays from all of us here at COOLA!