Gifts: Little Passports makes an amazing gift that keeps on giving. After the initial delivery of a suitcase, a map, and a passport, Little Passports sends adorable monthly deliveries focusing on different countries. Each package includes a postcard along with little “artifacts” from that country. When we open the Little Passports package each month, it sparks a conversation about the country and its unique culture. It encourages us to spread the map onto the ground and trace our fingers from Wisconsin to far off lands. My sons, especially my eight year old, eagerly await the deliveries each month.
Stories: My collection of mangers is impressive-colorful pieces of history collected among my Latin American travels. As we set them out, I recount with my boys where they are from and a little bit about each country. Our Christmas tree welcomes the same discussions as we hang ornaments gifted and collected from Italy, Korea, Africa….I just adore our United Nations Advent calendar that adorns our home every Christmas season reminding us of the many nations across the globe. What can you find in your home to tell a global story this season?
Traditions: There are so many amazing cultural options across the country and surely in your own town that allow you to delve into holiday traditions derived from other cultures and countries. Whether it’s a menorah celebration for Hanukkah or a visiting a Mexican bakery to buy tamales and talking about the tamaladas that happen across Mexico during Christmas time, there are global traditions and customs everywhere.
Sponsor a child: Choosing to sponsor a child internationally this time of year allows you to not only teach your child the meaning of giving, but it also gives great insight into the life of children in other countries. We are sponsoring a little boy from Honduras and this has allowed us to see the similarities- like a shared love of soccer and tacos and yet also the differences-the poverty, the danger. Just last night we looked again at Honduras on the map and thought of little Mayacol.
Read a book: There are so many books about other countries or cultures and their traditions at the holidays. Written specifically for children, these books make an easy and perfect way to spread global enthusiasm and interest. This list is particularly great.
Music: I have always adored Putumayo and their amazing ability to make music of other cultures reachable. Whether it’s playing one of their children’s CDS or one from their Christmas and Hanukkah line, the sounds of other cultures can fill your home with joyous sounds derived from many beautiful and different cultures.
Pictures: My boys love to see pictures of children from other places. With tablets and smart phones, bringing the world into your kitchen is easier than ever. Look at the pictures and talk about the wishes of these children around the world or these adorable children celebrating with their unique customs. Use the pictures to start a conversation- How are they the same as your wishes? How are they different? There’s even a Christmas Around the World coloring book available on Amazon.
Cook: Find a recipe online from a different country and involve your children. While you are cooking or baking talk about what makes the recipe special in that particular country. I just learned a little bit myself as I prepare for “make your own cannolis” for Christmas Eve! My kids will be definitely be amused by this list of “heavenly” Christmas recipes from around the world, though I am sure their picky selves will not say they look heavenly! 😉 This list, however includes many sweet treats from different countries that any child would love to try.
I could honestly go on and on because around every corner is an opportunity to open the world to your child-even in small town Wisconsin.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, remember your fellow humans across the globe this holiday season!