Making the Most of the Holiday Season
Gearing Up For The Holidays
Trying to beat those holiday blues? Rushing around to fit everything in? Trying to come up with ideas to entertain your host student and family? Look no further. Your answers are all right here.
Involve Your Host Student
Making the most of the holiday season no matter what holiday you celebrate can be a daunting and somewhat difficult task. You’ve celebrated many holidays in the past so why is this season different? You have a new family member from another country and you’re trying your best to give them all the experiences your town offers. Here are a few simple and fun ways to get everyone involved and cure those holiday blues.
Host a Cookie Exchange
Invite other families and their host students over for a cookie exchange. Each family brings a dozen or so cookies depending on the size of the group. The cookies are home baked from a recipe found in another country. Once all of the cookies have arrived; everyone walks around, takes a cookie, and places them on a plate to take home. Stay awhile and enjoy some cookies, hot chocolate, and conversation with friends. What an excellent way to taste the different types of cookies that represent a variety of places around the world. Why not try an Italian Ricotta Cookie? How about a Chinese Almond Cookie or a Russian Tea Cookie?
Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
No matter where you live, there is a Christmas Tree Farm not too far away. Bundle up in cozy clothes and hop in the car. It’s time for a drive through the country or city to find that tree farm! Some tree farms will actually let you chop your tree down for free. If that sounds a bit dangerous, they’ll cut it for you. What a fun way to start the season. In Riverside, California, you can visit Sand Haven Pines; in Bozeman, Montana head on over to Rocky Creek Farm. Live on the east coast? No problem, take the family to The Old Farm Christmas Place in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Check out your local city or town for the closest farm to meet your needs.
Decorate the Tree
Whether your tree is real or fake doesn’t matter when it comes time to pull out those memorable ornaments and start hanging them on the tree. Each ornament tells a story. Explain to your children and/or your host student about the history behind some of the ornaments. Have them tell you about their tree at home and stories behind some of their favorite ornaments. Why not purchase an ornament or two with your host student that have meaning. When you open up that ornament box and pull out those ornaments each year, you’ll quickly be brought back to the time they were with you.
Take a Drive Through the Neighborhood
It’s time for another drive! Grab some hot chocolate, turn on the Christmas music, and drive around your town or city looking at all of the twinkling lights and decorations that adorn the homes around you. You can often find areas that have been mentioned in social media to visit.
Take those dusty books down from the shelves and gather around the fireplace. Each night have someone read a story or a chapter from a book about the holidays. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a holiday classic. Need something easier for the little ones? The Berenstain Bears’ Night Before Christmas is an easy read. An all time favorite? Who doesn’t like Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?
Watch a Holiday Movie
Turn the lights on the Christmas tree and turn all the other lights off. What an amazing feeling already. Now, turn on a holiday classic like “The Grinch” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Enjoy spending time with the family and taking in all that the holidays have to offer.
Sharing traditions is a wonderful way to show your host student your life through the excitement of your stories and activities. What traditions did you celebrate when you were young and how have those changed? Ask your host student to share their traditions. This will help keep them connected to their families and their home while so far away. This can be a difficult time for them. They’ve spent so many years with the same people and the same traditions. Allow them time to reminisce. Give them the opportunity to call home during the holidays to keep them connected.
Remember, whatever you do, include your host student and make the best of the holiday season.
- European Association for International Education: https://www.eaie.org
- Chicago Tribune: http://chicagotribune.com
- Working Mother: https://www.workingmother.com