I thought I’d make this post a little personal.
I remember being in middle school and feeling self conscious about being Mexican. Specifically during the holidays. I guess that’s when I realized that my peers started to see me as being different.
During one holiday I was shocked when I was asked “Do you even celebrate Christmas?”
I wondered why someone would even ask me that, of course I celebrate Christmas. Why wouldn’t I?
But they kept pressing. Well what do you eat? Tacos? Do you have a tree? What did you eat for Thanksgiving?
I was young so I was just surprised and annoyed by these questions. However I wasn’t the kind of person who showed much emotion so I answered these questions and I kept my confusion to myself.
It wasn’t until I was older and had kids of my own that I realized that the kid’s from my middle school years just didn’t have any understanding of other cultures. No one had told them the beauty of other traditions. They just knew or heard about a few differences and made assumptions. I was their way of satisfying their curiosity.
I’m ok with that now, I just wish I had been a little wiser, and more secure in myself to answer their questioning.
Again, I’d like to talk about how important it is to have conversations like this as a family. Conversations, not only explaining and talking through your own culture, but also exploring and appreciating other cultures in an uplifting way. If we want to shift the entitled, and elitist way of thinking then it has to start with us teaching and having meaningful conversations with our children. It’s their future that we need to protect. One that isn’t filled will shock and fear of the unknown, but one of unity, possibility, and excitement.
Anyway I thought I’d share a few traditions we have as a family during the holidays.
1. Tamales: My grandfather used to spend all day making tamales. We would eat them for days. Even though he doesn’t make them anymore, we still have tamales for Christmas. We buy so many, and have them for leftovers for the rest of the week. I remember sweet tamales (strawberry & raisin) being a treat during the holiday season.
2. Chocolate caliente: Now this is my favorite thing ever. As soon as the weather starts getting chilly, the kids start asking for chocolate caliente. I usually make it when we decorate the Christmas tree and we have it as a special treat every so often. It’s always a little bit of a process because I like to get it frothy (like it should be). Having it with pan Mexicano is also a must. I’ve shared the recipe before if you want to try it for yourself.
3. New pijamas (or pajamas) and movie. We do this on Christmas Eve every year. The kids get to open one gift, which is a new pair of pajamas. They change and get cozy while I make popcorn and chocolate caliente, and we watch The Polar Express.
Our traditions are simple…and probably similar to mane people. (Well…maybe not the tamales…but my husband does like this tradition I bring to our family.)
Now I’d love to hear of any fun traditions you either remember and loved as a kid, or are starting with your own family. It’s so wonderful to see how people celebrate this special time with their friends and family. SO share in the comments below, or join the conversation on Instagram!