‘Tis the Season to Give…and Give Back
This time of the year, people around the world are connected by the common thread of gift giving. Though our countries, religions and cultures have unique traditions and celebrations, we are united in the spirit of sharing. This holiday season, we invite you to experience some of our favourite global traditions, brought to you with the insights of GLOBALHealthPR partners worldwide!
In the UK, gifts are traditionally delivered by Father Christmas overnight on Christmas Eve. We hang up stockings near the fireplace so when Father Christmas comes down the chimney he can fill our stockings with presents. We also leave a sherry and mince pie for him, and a carrot for his reindeer. Christmas Day is about giving and receiving presents from friends and family and eating as much food as is humanly possible, followed by the Queen’s speech and a snooze.
Neil Crump: Aurora Communications
In Singapore, only those who celebrate Christmas will exchange gifts with each other during the Holidays. For Chinese New Year, Ang Pows, red packets containing cash, are the traditional gift of choice. We give them to children, the elderly and the unmarried. You have to make sure the cash in in Ang Pow adds up to an even number like $4, $8 or $10 for good luck.
Patsy Phay: Mileage
In Spain our most popular giving tradition is about the Three Wise Men (Los Reyes Magos) who came from the East to visit Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We receive gifts from the Three Wise Men on the 6th of January. However, if you have not been good the past year, you receive coal instead of a present. In every house we prepare some food and traditional sweets for the Wise Men, and the kids leave out potatoes, bread and water for their camels.
Juan Luis Recio Diaz: Berbés Asociados
We celebrate the big day on the 24th of December. Families come together for a big feast that starts when the first stars begin to show. When the children are not paying attention, someone will vanish from the house to dress up as Santa. ‘Santa’ rings a bell to announce his arrival with presents and then hands gifts out to everybody, in exchange for the singing of a song. ‘Santa’ is of course invited for the feast and some vodka. For many years on, kids remember how they either: Did not recognise Santa was their favourite uncle; or recognised their uncle by his old shoes.
Andrzej Kropiwnicki: Alfa Communications
In Portugal one of our oldest Christmas giving traditions is to burn a stump on night of the 24th. Some people do this in the privacy of their homes with family, while public churchyards host big bonfires for the whole community. Everyone gathers around the fire and sings traditional Portuguese songs while waiting for the children to go to sleep, and the arrival of Father Christmas with their gifts.
Jorge Azevedo: Guess What
What makes our giving tradition Mexican is the piñata. Piñatas are filled with candy and small gifts, and we take turns trying to break them open with a bat or broom stick while blindfolded. When someone finally cracks a piñata open, the candy and presents fall to the floor and the kids launch themselves to the ground trying to grab as many sweets and presents as possible. Though piñatas are often present at birthday parties, the tradition is most strongly associated with Christmas.
Paola de La Barreda and Nallely Moreno: PRP
In Argentina we open gifts on December 24th, precisely at 12:00 a.m. along with a family toast. Everybody shares a good panettone (a sweetbread with dried fruit), and we throw firecrackers in celebration. The children also receive gifts on January 6th, from the Three Wise Men. The kids leave their shoes outside the night of the 5th, with some water and grass for the Wise Men’s camels, and wake up to find presents left by their shoes. At the same time as Christmas we start our summer and school vacations, so common gifts for kids include toys for the beach or the swimming pool.
Eugenia de la Fuente: Paradigma
In India, we love giving celebrations. All religious festivals are celebrated here, but the most common one is Diwali. The key ingredients for any celebration of Diwali are a lot of lights, yummy food, goodies and gifts to give to each other. We host family gatherings and friends come and visit to share sweets and dry fruits, as well as seasonal specialties depending on the region. And of course, the celebration is not complete without fireworks to light up the night sky.
Priti Mohile: MediaMedic
Our best-known giving tradition is that our children, and of course well-behaved grownups, put their polished shoes in front of the door on the eve of December 6th. Later that night, St. Nicolas arrives to fill the shoes with candy and small gifts. The next morning we decorate the Christmas tree and go to church. After church, we celebrate Christmas with family, sharing gifts, music and a traditional Christmas dinner. Favourite menu items include trout or another fish, potato salad and sausages or duck.
Tina Winter: fischerAppelt
Some American families open just one gift on Christmas Eve, and everybody knows what’s in the box – Christmas pajamas! This gets everyone ready for bed and looking spiffy for Christmas morning. That night, after the kids have gone to sleep, Santa Claus sneaks down the chimney and leaves presents under the tree for the good boys and girls. In the morning everyone meets up at the tree, looking fly in our Christmas PJ’s, and shares gifts with friends and family.
Mary Ellen Hackett: Spectrum
We hope you enjoyed learning about how we celebrate the giving season.
Best wishes, and have the happiest of holidays from GLOBALHealthPR!
United Kingdom: Brent Flanders via flickr.com
Singapore: Cheon Fong Liew via flickr.com
Spain: Amira A via flickr.com
Portugal: Brian Colson via flickr.com
Mexico: Diógene via flickr.com
Argentina: NicolEttone via flickr.com
India: gags9999 via flickr.com
Germany: David Wolfe
United States: EvilErin via flickr.com