Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the many American holidays and traditions I had the pleasure of getting to celebrate in America. Below I will tell you how I experienced them, and why I am excited to see what the new year has in store for me!
Halloween was the first big holiday/tradition I got to celebrate in America. I am from a country where people don’t usually celebrate Halloween, so being in America this time of year made me really excited. From stores full with all types of candy, to pop-up Halloween-costume-stores, to spooky decorations in people’s yards. I mean, how could you not?! I was still with my first host family back then, and the kids just had to go to school like every other day.
After school, we went to Starbucks to start the Halloween festivities by getting a ‘Witch’s Brew Frappuccino’. It tastes as crazy as it sounds… After that, we started to get ready to go trick-or-treating. One of the neighbors threw a chili party before the kids went trick-or-treating. Once everyone was done eating, the craziness began. All the kids literally ran in different directions to get as much candy as possible. I went with my older host kid and her friend, and it was a nice thing to experience.
PARADES & HAUNTED HOUSES
The weekend before, there were a lot of Halloween parades in Dallas. But because I was in San Antonio to celebrate the Day of the Dead, I missed those. Nevertheless, I still had a great dress-up experience in San Antonio, one I for sure would have never wanted to miss!
Another nice Halloween thing are the haunted houses. A couple days before Halloween, I went to a haunted house with my host kids. But once we were there, they were too afraid to go in. I didn’t want to waste those tickets, so I took the kids home and me and my host mom end up going together. It was hilarious, I laughed the whole way through the haunted house.
REMATCH & THANKSGIVING
After Halloween, I went into rematch. Since my former host family found a new au pair and my new family did not need an au pair until after Thanksgiving, I stayed with my friend over Thanksgiving break. This was a weird way of celebrating my first Thanksgiving ever with a family I barely knew. My friend also left for Wisconsin to see her relatives there, so I ended up celebrating with just her host family.
The thing I was mainly thankful for was this family letting me celebrate Thanksgiving with them! A Thanksgiving I for sure will not forget. And yes, they made turkey. They even fried (yes fried) it, and it was honestly the best turkey I have ever eaten. After Thanksgiving, there is Black Friday. Which already started on Thursday evening. I went to some shops with my friends’ host mom, and it was one of the craziest things I have ever seen. TVs, lots of toys, electronica: carts were full with anything and everything you could think of. The shops were so crowded that the employees had to guide people so everyone kept moving. A fun but crazy experience and another thing to take off of my bucket list.
PRE-CHRISTMAS-SHOPPING IN NEW YORK
The weekend before Christmas I went to New York. A friend of mine (Justine) flew in all the way from Dallas and we had an amazing weekend. We did some Christmas shopping, walked along Brooklyn Bridge, Fifth Avenue, took some pictures around Dumbo, went to the 9/11 Memorial, SoHo, Flatiron Building, Empire State Building… The list goes on and on. Name a famous NYC site, and I can assure you we’ve been there! Even the Radio City Hall Rockettes Christmas Show was something we saw, and that was very fun!
We walked around 15 miles every day and we had the best time. The weather was pretty decent for a December weekend. Besides, New York is so pretty during the Christmas time! Especially all the Christmas lights. The weekend went by really fast, but it was nice to have that little Christmas feeling before it even was Christmas. A benefit of moving from Dallas to Baltimore is living relatively close to New York…
SPENDING CHRISTMAS WITH MY NEW FAMILY
Coming back from New York on the 24th, I was in full-on Christmas spirit and ready for the big day. One of the things that made me excited for America was celebrating Christmas and everything surrounding this special holiday; The decorations, carols, shops and just the general Christmas atmosphere. Being new in this family, I was kind of scared to feel left out. But it was actually quite the opposite!
In the morning, we all went to church together. Even though I am not religious, I was very excited to be there with my new family. Afterwards, the rest of the family and friends started to arrive. Dinner preparation madness ensued. Christmas Eve is the time when all the family gets together at my host family’s. Even some of my host parents’ friends came by to have one big dinner together.
Afterwards the kids were allowed to unwrap some of their presents and give some to their aunts/uncles/grandmas/grandpas who were about to leave. It was a really nice evening with lots of food and good people. But very early on Christmas morning, Santa’s presents came and my host kids were beyond excited! After unpacking presents for more than two hours, I decided to go back to bed. After all those days of walking in New York and eating so much food during Christmas Eve, I was exhausted. It was a nice ‘American’ Christmas and one I will for sure not forget.
I celebrated the end of the year with my friend from DC. We went to a little party, where we watched the Times Square ball drop on TV. It was a fun night, though New Years Eve in America did surprise me. I am very used to seeing fireworks everywhere, since you can buy your own fireworks in my country. There were no fireworks around this time, and most of the people I know went to bed before the clock even struck midnight. I expected a little more…
Nevertheless, we had a great night and it was a nice way to kick off the new year. A new year also means that I have been here for almost 6 months now. Half way there… It is crazy how time flies but if you think about it, it’s still half way to go! I am very curious as to what the next 6 months will bring, and very excited to share all of it with you guys!
Happy new Year to all of you!