Seeing how the holidays are celebrated in other countries.
I grew up in the middle of Middle America. While many of our friends and neighbors came from other parts of the country, they brought their ‘old country’ traditions with them when they moved nearby. The same way my family did when they moved into the area. Those ‘old country’ traditions became the ‘old family traditions’ that were carried forward every year but somehow without the connections to the old country as they had with older generations.
Like the old story about the young woman who wanted to make Grandma’s Perfect Roast but had difficulty finding all the right ingredients and that all important pan. For years it was stressed that the pan was extremely important. After several frustrating searches, the young lady finally called Grandma and asked about the recipe. Turned out the pan wasn’t all that important after all; it was simply what Grandma had on hand way back when she first made the recipe and it was what she used every time she made it. It was the right size for the roast.
There is something magical about visiting other countries and seeing how they do, or don’t, celebrate. Don’t get me wrong, ‘visiting’ doesn’t necessarily mean travel, you can visit from your armchair in the comfort of your home, too. But taking the time to see the decorations, listen to the music, watch the processions, experience the food and drink (and here you could get really creative and try some recipes), all of this takes you out of the same old, same old that we often find ourselves experiencing in the midst of the Holiday Hoopla.
Thinking about food, it is interesting to discover where some of our favorite foods came from. They might be passed down in the family, but the origins could be quite surprising.
There’s nothing wrong with doing the same things every year, but if you want to take it up a notch or simply renew your joy of the season, it might be worth the effort to check out what other folks are doing.
FWIW, I still find it a bit … odd … that in Australia Christmas is in Summer. I know I’m not the only one, too. But I’d bet the Australians find it a bit odd that other folks celebrate during Winter. Come to think on it a bit, I grew up where it snowed and was cold during the holidays. Years later I moved to the West Coast. It was decidedly weird to have Thanksgiving Turkey and Christmas Roast when the weather was in the 70s.
Like so many things, it really is just what you are used to. 🙂