What a year 2020 has been! Finding ways to improve our well-being is more critical now than ever before. Luckily, the holiday season is here, and it is the perfect opportunity to relax with our loved ones. We thought this out of the ordinary year called for out of the ordinary activities, so we rounded up 4 family-focused holiday traditions from around the globe that we encourage you to copy to inspire wellness and relaxation.
Roller skating in Caracas, Venezuela
Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, has a unique Christmas tradition that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. With a substantial Catholic population, Christmas mass is celebrated daily during the week leading up to December 25th. In preparation, the streets close to all motor traffic, and churchgoers choose roller skates as their preferred method to get to church.
As if roller skating to mass didn’t sound wild enough, young children tie strings to their toes to be dangled out the window for the passing by skaters to yank along the way. Firecrackers are also set off, making it a rather loud event. After mass, everyone celebrates by getting together to eat and drink.
We don’t know about you, but this tradition seems pretty fun to us! No matter whether or not you go to mass, this holiday season why not take inspiration from Venezuelans and get the family together for roller or ice skating, depending on your climate? It’s not the destination that’s important, but rather the time you spend together. A bit of exercise will get the endorphins flowing and make that warm cup of tea or hot chocolate even tastier.
Christmas Eve Jólabókaflóð in Iceland
The Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð–no idea how to pronounce it, but we know it means “Yule Book Flood”–started during the Second World War when most materials were rationed. One exception was paper, making books an affordable gift. Since then, it’s been a tradition to exchange books on the 24th. Families get cozy in a blanket and warm socks, put on their favorite tunes, and snuggle up with a steaming mug of hot cocoa before settling down to read their books together on Christmas Eve.
Doesn’t this sound dreamy? This tradition has actually begun to spread to other parts of the world in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. Spending quiet time in your family’s company with a great book is an ideal way to relax this holiday season. We recommend lighting a scented candle to increase the coziness of this special moment.
Savouring 13 desserts in Provence, France
The southeastern region of Provence in France has a favorite Christmas tradition known as treize desserts de Noël–or 13 desserts of Christmas. On the 24th, 13 desserts representing Jesus and his 12 disciples are set out on the table. All guests must eat at least a bite of each. Don’t worry though, they remain on the table until the 27th, so there’s enough time to get a bite of each in without getting a stomach ache. While the actual desserts vary according to village and household, some of the staples include:
- Walnuts or hazelnuts
- Dried figs
- White nougat
- Black nougat
- Fresh fruit
- Pompe a l’huile, a flatbread, served with grape jam.
To take a twist on this tradition that certainly makes the holidays sweeter, why not bake together with your family, or ask everyone to contribute a different dessert for the table on Christmas Eve? It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach your children those family recipes that have been passed on, or start a new tradition that they can share with their children one day.
Watching Donald Duck in Sweden
This last example is among the most quirky, yet utterly Christmas-y holiday traditions we’ve ever heard of. Every Christmas, families around Sweden gather around the television at precisely 3pm to watch Donald Duck. You read that right. More than 40% of the country’s population tune in every year to watch a 1958 Christmas special called “Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas”. We love the idea of gathering together to watch something that brings heartwarming memories, and will very likely copy this unique ritual, although we might replace Donald Duck with a good old Hallmark movie.
We know this holiday season feels a bit different, and you might not be able to celebrate it with as many friends and family members as usual, but we hope these unique holiday traditions will inspire you to see this peculiar context as an opportunity to create new habits that will make the season as merry as can be. Happy holidays from all of us here at Yesterday!