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Coming from a bi-cultural home myself, it's been an interesting experience blending cultures and traditions in my own home as my kids grow up in a multi-cultural family. The kids are learning Spanish and exploring more of a bilingual experience than I did. Sure, I took Spanish in high school and college but it just wasn't the same as learning at home. While we don't speak Spanish in the house ourselves, the kids hear it from family members and also from me at times when I'm pronouncing brand names and explaining traditions. Especially here in Southern California, we are surrounded by Latin and Mexican Culture daily, the kids are exposed to so much culture! My dual heritage and my kids' mutli-cultural heritage are celebrated in our family through traditions new and old that we cultivate during the holidays. Hallmark is a part of that heritage, helping us celebrate in the languages of everyone we care about. I personally love that Hallmark cards help me express myself in Spanish in ways I can't because I haven't completely mastered the language. I'm learning it all again after all these years!
Hallmark cards for every day in Spanish and English
Though I enjoy making handmade cards, we have long loved Hallmark cards, gifts, and all that the brand stands for. Hallmark can be a part of the celebration in any season, today and everyday, but especially during the holidays. Connecting with family and friends is an integral part of the holiday season for us. We visit friends, bringing homemade cookies to their homes. We gather around with family to make tamales for the holidays. We decorate the tree with ornaments from all sides of our family, including heirloom Hallmark ornaments collected by my grandmother. We send Christmas cards to those who are close to our hearts but across the globe. Which reminds me, we need to get busy addressing those cards!!
With Hallmark, we can send messages that are funny, lighthearted, religious or heartfelt in both English and Spanish. Since there are few stamps with Spanish sentiments, it's especially important to me that Hallmark offers an assortment of cards in English and Spanish that help cultivate traditions with loved ones, both during the holidays and every day. Hallmark cards speak to the language that everyone understands — the heart, whether it’s for mama, papa, los abuelos, brother, sisters, the kids, or other loved ones. Language is such a huge component of Latin culture. When we are not raised speaking Spanish, it's so wonderful to be able to count on Hallmark to help us express ourselves to our Spanish-speaking family and friends.
Multi-cultural family traditions through the years
We are proud of our roots and that has manifested itself in the mix of cultural activities that show up in our holiday celebrations. Birthday parties must have a piñata. And we don't play with pulling strings – that bad boy gets broken with a bat or broomstick! For Christmas there is always tamales, handmade with masa from our favorite local Mexican bakery. We always make savory tamales but trade a few dozen with friends and neighbors for sweet tamales or whatever their family's specialty is. Christmas mornings involve the kids opening presents in Christmas pajamas, sometimes with Santa hats on! On Sunday mornings I grew up eating menudo but when I was in my twenties, my good college friend Elvie introduced me to pozole. We always drop in at her mom's house for the holidays, even now that we're all grown and living on our own. There's always steamed tamales and a hot pot of pozole on the stove, at the ready for guests. But it's not just Latin culture around here…
We've blended Xaver's southern traditions with the traditions of the American side of my family for a multi-cultural celebration for holidays, especially during Christmas. This photo above shows my Christmas table this year, filled with items influenced by all the cultures in our family. Crystal candy dishes passed down from my grandmother are always filled with candies, just like my grandma kept them. I skipped the plastic and lace table covers my Mexican grandmother used for red and green linens from my American grandmother. We make ham, turkey, and roast beef from year to year and sometimes, we really venture outside our own cultures. For Thanksgiving we started going to Disneyland together and eating turkey legs from the food carts there, making our own new tradition.
Christmas Day celebrations in our mutli-cultural family
On Christmas Day we skip the over the fancy hot meals and opt for cold cut platters, fancy cheeses sliced with honey and dried fruit, shrimp cocktail, re-heated tamales, plates of cookies, sweet potato pie (Xaver's favorite), pumpkin pie (my favorite), chilled cranberry relish, and maybe leftover ham. There's also Punch Bowl Cake, another one of Xaver's favorites, which will pretty much ruin any plans you had for a diet this holiday season. We have a holiday spread where everyone can snack at their leisure and we can enjoy the day playing board games, watching movies, and having a relaxing day. That's totally not what Christmas was like when Xaver and I were kids – we used to go from house to house on Christmas Day, visiting and eating and visiting some more. For us, we love turning our own Christmas Day into a relaxing time, against all the traditions we had in the past.
There are so many traditions for any one holiday that we mix and match them so that over the years, we hit all the marks on the map. Some years we make tamales, like this year, and other years we're all about roast beef, green beans, Yorkshire pudding, brown gravy, and steamed peas. Other years we make collard greens, black eyed peas, ham, fried chicken, and lots of fancy cakes. Sometimes we have gingerbread houses and Matthew eats them! The main thread through all of it is a celebration of all the things we are and all that we wish to pass on to our kids. Latin culture is one part of this larger buffet plate that makes up our family. And Hallmark helps us express and keep alive that part of our culture in the grand melting pot that is the Priest family.
How do you express your culture? Do you have mixed cultures in your family? Tell me about it in the comments!