The Holidays are coming, the holidays are coming!
As if the holidays were not stressful enough, the crazy cousin, a drunken uncle and the ex's and current love interest all invited to the same table. Add to the mix, a multicultural relationship filled with different traditions and customs. Now, you've got a sure fire recipe for a festive holiday get- together. How do you deal with the differences and get to the true meaning of the season?
Are you ready to meet those friends and families with a "different way of doing thangs"?
Well, I don't know about you but I absolutely love the holiday season. I love the music, the decorations the food. I love that it's a time of year that family and friends get together and try so very hard to be on their best behavior. People think about those less fortunate and are they more giving during the holidays. Come to think of it... I think I love the "idea" of the holidays. Somehow it doesn't usually run quite like that in my house.
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First there is the every single year debate about "where are we going this year"? Everyone wants it to be at their house, but no one wants to do all the preparation in making that happen. So, everyone tries to decide who's bringing what, what time, who's picking up whom and without fail...somebody's ex something is invited as the "entertainment" portion of the night.
Now the really cool thing about my family is that all though we could make a beautiful poster representing many cultures, the tradition are for the most part condensed and refined and rolled into one big, cook the food, put in on the table, say grace and eat. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Of course I'm leaving out the belching, farting and cussing parts. When there has been occasion for someone new and outside the family to join us, it is an unspoken rule that the person that invites them must explain the ways of the family. It's astonishing how good manners are universal. My rule of thumb has always been, if you don't know...look at the person next to you and ask the person who invited you.
The best part of mixing and meeting new people, families and different cultures with diverse traditions is the opportunity to learn something new...the food, the music, the language and religious affiliations. It's also great to be taught about new traditions as well as to teach about your family history and traditions.
A great way to open dialogue is by bringing something that is unique to your own culture and sharing that with the new family. Remember, there is a time and a place to voice your political, social, and economic views. Be mindful of where you are and take the proper precautions not to offend or insult. But also, be prepared to have a thick skin for some family member's whose ignorance to your background is very apparent.
Holidays can be a very painful time for many as well. The memories of the ones we lost or being alone during the season is a reality for many. Whether you spend this holiday season in the company of many or alone, remember to take it one day at a time. And just because it's this way today, doesn't mean it'll have to be that way next time...unless you want it to be.
If you find yourself alone, a single parent or you just want to try something new with your family, how about volunteering at a local shelter? What a great way to give of yourself. You may be surprised how much you get in return.
This is Leticia...hoping that one day we can all sit at the same table and celebrate life.