... a new tradition.

A critical aspect of my disaster response training involves understanding and respecting others' social and religious differences.  From the meals served at a shelter to a warm hug not given to a certain disaster victim, our training constantly reminds us that there are many different cultures and expectations right here in our own cities.  Yet for all our differences people are very much the same. I hope you'll take a moment this holiday season to enjoy the beauty of festive celebrations held in your community.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Our holiday enjoyment of chocolate and poinsettias comes from Mexico and Central America. Celebrate them with a knowledge of their origin.

There are all sorts of delicious Christmas food, treats and desserts that come from other cultures and traditions.  Pizzelle, panettone, gingerbread men, or maybe a bowl of Ukraininan Grain Pudding.

Hanukkah begins at sundown December 1 and is celebrated each night through December 8.  Read or talk about the story of Hanukkah.  Eat a jelly doughnut (sufganiot).

Kwanzaa begins December 26 and continues for 7 days total.  It is a modern African cultural holiday rooted in ancient tradition of celebrating the "first fruits."  Children are given books as gifts, and seven candles are lit.

Find some new traditions you enjoy and research where they came from.  Celebrate and share your own family culture and traditions.  What unique traditions do can you share?

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