We do a pretty good job of getting out and about to check out new things. But sometimes we definitely get in a rut. I thought that it might be a good idea to think ahead to 2014 and plan for a couple of new experiences for our family. Here are my ideas for 2014... Read more »
I can’t stand this time of year when everyone acts like their lives are going to mysteriously morph into perfection during the month of January. Let’s be honest here. You may wake up at 5:00 a.m. once or twice to make it to the gym but that isn’t going to stick. Nor is your plan... Read more »
I wanted to take a moment to say thanks for reading Wee Windy City. I feel so fortunate to be raising my family in Chicago. I started Wee Windy City so that I could really try to take advantage of all that this city has to offer families. This blog has done that (and much... Read more »
In America, we have Santa Claus. He’s big and rosy-cheeked, all decked out in red and white, and easily recognized due to his famous facial hair. We leave him cookies and milk to munch on before he climbs back up the chimney to his reindeer. But our notion of Santa Claus is really the combined effort of many old traditions and folklore. There’s a little bit of the Dutch figure of Sinterklass, a dash of Norse mythology’s Odin, and British folklore’s Father Christmas.
The story of how Santa came to be got me thinking about how kids in other countries are going to be celebrating Christmas this week -- and why it is important to teach our kids about different holiday traditions around the world (by the way, The Museum of Science and Industry has a must-see annual exhibit that highlights various cultural holiday celebrations
I asked the folks at Cultural Care Au Pair
to share the cultural traditions from the home countries of some of the au pairs living with families here in Chicago. This leading au pair agency knows very well the many benefits of cultural exchange for the families and au pairs in their program. Au pairs introduce children to the culture of their home countries through language, songs, games and more. And our little "global citizens" get a unique look at what the world is like outside of the United States.
While we prepare for Santa's arrival, I thought you might be interested to hear how other countries are celebrating Christmas around the world.
Patricia Togoro, age 25 from Pindamonhangaba, Brazil currently living with a host family in West Town.
Christmas Eve is a special day where families enjoy a meal together of delicious meats. After midnight, well wishes of “Merry Christmas” as well as fireworks abound throughout the city. A traditional Christmas Day meal includes turkey, dried fruits, walnuts, chestnuts and panettone (a type of Italian brioche containing raisins). Secret Santa gifts are exchanged amongst friends, coworkers and family members. Papai Noel comes bearing gifts in his silk Santa suit as the traditional dress would be too warm for him during Brazil’s summer months.
Austria & Germany
Jacqueline Schwab, age 21 from Schwarzach, Austria living with a host family in Lincoln Park & Maren Hotz, age 18 from Boeblingen, Germany living with a host family in Wicker Park.
December 6th is St. Nicholas Day in Germany and Austria. On this day, all the children wake up to find the candies and chocolates that “der Nikolaus” left in their boots the night before. In some parts, a big horned monster called “Knecht Ruprecht” or “Krampus” accompanies St. Nicholas. This scary figure punishes the children who were bad, and gives them a birch branch as a present. In other parts of the country, St. Nicholas is followed by a little character called “Schwarz Peter” (Black Peter), who carries a small whip. And in northwest Germany, St. Nicholas is joined by Belsnickel, a man dressed all in fur.
Christmas Eve is the most special day with families going to church and eating a meal together. While the family is at church the Christkind, a young girl with Christ-like qualities, arrives to decorate their tree and leave gifts...
Not heading off to a tropical island locale for the holidays this year? No Colorado ski trip in your future? Just planning on hanging here in Chicago admist the snow drifts and sub zero temps? Well then you are definitely going to need some ideas on fun things while the kiddos are out of school.... Read more »
Do you know how fortunate we are to have the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago here in our backyard? You do, right? I try to be mindful of the fact that I cannot take this world-class local resource for granted. We are extremely lucky to be so proximate to this kind of care... Read more »
Bump Club and Beyond is all about connecting moms and moms-to-be with one another. And Bump Club also believes in the power of moms helping other moms. This holiday season, Bump Club and Beyond is once again partnering with the best local retail vendors for the holiday shopping event of the season and 100% of... Read more »
I really love the CTA Holiday Train — and my kids do too. But you must have a good plan in place if you want this excursion to go smoothly. The Holiday Train moves fast. And it is crowded. If you learn one thing from this post, don’t bring your stroller. It won’t work. The... Read more »
Part of my Chicago winter survival strategy is embracing the chilly outdoor temps. The key to this approach is stocking up on the appropriate bundling equipment (that means long underwear, water-proof gloves, all the really warm stuff). And then get out there on doing something fun in the freezing cold. Winter is here. You can’t... Read more »
Chicago winters can be really long and miserable (particularly after the holiday hoopla dies down). But there are lots of fun things for families to do during the chilly months ahead. You just need to know what they are. That’s why I’ve created the Wee Windy City Winter Survival Guide. Over the next couple of... Read more »