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Sharp Health News

Global holiday traditions to spice up your celebrations

Dec. 16, 2021

Child putting decorations on a Christmas tree

The holidays are approaching, and things still feel a bit different than past years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the usual parties, gatherings with friends and family, and special events have been canceled or no longer feel as festive as once before. This leaves parents seeking new ways to make the holidays feel especially merry for their little ones.

One way to brighten up the holiday season and add a bit of cheer is to find a few new traditions to introduce to your family’s holiday celebrations. Whether it’s switching up when you give gifts or adding a special adventure to your plans, you might just find you’ll want to keep these new customs around for years to come.

What’s more, when you borrow them from countries around the world, they really do add a magical flair to a time that has felt less-than-merry of late. Consider adding one of these three global holiday traditions to your family’s celebrations:

  • Deck the trees — and boats
    In Greece, both trees and boats are strung with lights in honor of the country’s revered maritime history. In San Diego, you too can enjoy the lighted spectacles of the sea by making a special nighttime trip to one of several areas where boats are docked along the San Diego waters. From Oceanside to Shelter Island and Coronado, our seaside community offers its own brilliant display of maritime holiday cheer.
  • Forget the elf, the Yule Lads are here
    If you’ve grown wary of all the shelf elf’s antics, look no further than Iceland for a fun alternative. The Yule Lads are a mischievous bunch that leave kids both tricks and treats during the 13 days prior to Christmas. While they’re not great to look at — think witch-like trolls — and might leave behind a mess, they certainly love to shake things up while surprising kids with gifts full of holiday cheer.
  • Winter Solstice for the win
    The longest night of the year is celebrated all over the world. Scandinavia marks the winter solstice with candlelit processions to the city square, the U.K celebrates with gatherings at sunrise, Iran enjoys a special feast, and Vancouver lines the streets with paper lanterns. Create your own solstice celebration by lining your driveway with luminaria made of brown paper bags or heading to the highest San Diego peak to watch the sun rise while enjoying sweet and savory breakfast delights.

Make safety an annual tradition
The holidays are an excellent opportunity to come together and celebrate. Whether you choose to try out one of these international traditions or stick to family favorites, don’t forget to celebrate safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep yourself and loved ones healthy is to get vaccinated. The CDC also recommends that people wear face masks in public locations, avoid crowds, gather outdoors when possible, and consider testing before and after gatherings.

Learn more about COVID-19 resources and vaccination.

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