Keeping Up Holiday Traditions in the U.S.

Posted by on December 17, 2013.


We came to the United States from Argentina in May 1999. Being in opposite hemispheres, the seasons were flipped: December and the holidays were suddenly in winter instead of summer. That said, we had moved to Orlando, Florida, so our "winter" was mild-to-nonexistent. We spent many weekends in Disney World and even the water parks.

December is a time of birthdays for my family, starting with my own on December 2nd. The next day is my grandmother's (Fanny), and over the years she has been able to visit for an official midnight ceremony where we "pass the baton" of birthday kingship. December also holds birthdays for my grandfather (Marcos, now deceased), my mom (Sofia), my cousin (Nicolás), and my aunt (Mirta, on New Year's Eve!). That first holiday season away from our family, we struck up the tradition of calling each birthday boy or girl as a family. Imagine picking up the phone to a speakerphone chorus of our family of five. We've kept up the tradition since.

It was certainly tough to be away from family during New Year's, as we used to join our uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents in celebrating the new year together every year. For many years, visa restrictions kept us from traveling abroad (by prohibiting re-entry should we leave) and so we were unable to travel back to Buenos Aires to reunite with family, friends, and food---the three things that all immigrants miss most.

Being a U.S. citizen now, it is my hope that we reform the immigration system so families can reunite freely, keeping old traditions alive, and starting new ones.


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