How to Spend Your Holidays in the USA: Carol Edition

You thought we were done with the holiday posts, huh?

Nope! 🙈

As I wrote the last post on American holidays, I couldn’t help but reflect on the times I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s here in the US. This got me inspired to open up about some personal experiences I had during those seasons.

And since you’re here in the States… you may be invited to partake in these holidays with an American family, too! 

So let me go ahead and share some memories with you…

On Thanksgiving 🦃🍂

I was fortunate enough to have some American friends looking out for me. Shoutout to my friend Haleigh for inviting me to my first American Thanksgiving! 

I tried many new dishes over the years of American Thanksgiving’s that I wasn’t familiar with, such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole. Different but pretty good! (especially the pies, as I have a sweet tooth!) I also remember watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on television and wondering what the big deal was. It reminded me of Brazilian carnaval because of all the huge floats and crowds of people watching. 

I remember for one of those Thanksgiving’s, I decided to contribute to the dinner with food from back home. I made my hosts a common Brazilian treat called brigadeiros. I was a little nervous at first– what if they didn’t like it or what if it threw off the Thanksgiving vibe they had going on? However, my nerves were gone once I stepped foot into their home and felt their genuine hospitality. Plus, they absolutely loved my treats! 

On Christmas 🎄❄️

I will never forget Christmas of 2021. 

It was my first Christmas in the States, as I had gone home to Brazil in previous years to be with family. But I decided to stay this time around, as I wanted to experience it here in the US– and hopefully with snow!

The holidays can often not be as jolly as they advertise, as suffering is still a real thing during the season. The fact it’s Christmas doesn’t cancel the depression, the anxiety, the loss, the fear, the hurt… we still live in a broken world, unfortunately. 

That year, I was someone who was having trouble embracing the holidays. I wasn’t feeling merry, I wasn’t feeling the “joy to the world” like the song says. I desperately wished the Christmas season would shoo my depression away. But it remained, and bad; I like to add it to the “hardest seasons of my life” folder. 

Though I experienced deep sadness and discontent and continually wanted to isolate myself, a couple invited me into their home and gradually turned into my family here in Ohio. They were with me through thick and thin. They allowed me to simply be. They were reminding me that there is HOPE. 

And even when I didn’t feel like it, they welcomed me to come to decorate their freshly cut Christmas tree with beautiful ornaments, to sip some hot cocoa, and to escape my mind for just a moment. 

Their simple acts throughout that month saved my life, and for that, I am truly grateful. 

Yes, there was suffering. But in turn, I gained a family. 

On New Year’s ✨🥂

I chose to journal instead of attending a party in 2022. Not typical, but I just felt like staying cozy and embracing my inner introvert. I just craved reflection on the year that was quickly coming to a close. 

So there I was, journal open, pen in hand, tea brewed, looking at some researched questions on my phone I found on the web to answer. And I wrote away. And it was lovely and much needed. I have no regrets for staying in that night; you do you, if that’s what you wanna do!

The next day, I had some neighborhood friends inviting me to a New Year’s hangout. So I got some snacks ready, went over, and felt loved by my community. Another year with them by my side, thank God!

In conclusion,

the holiday season in the States has been a tapestry of diverse experiences for me– from warm Thanksgivings enriched by the hospitality of friends, to an unexpected gift of new family developed during Christmas, and finally, a quiet and reflective New Year’s Eve spent journaling and embracing solitude.

These moments have been a testament to the power of connection and the resilience of the human spirit. Despite the challenges that may accompany the holiday season, there’s a silver lining in the form of genuine relationships and simple acts of kindness. Whether it’s sharing Brazilian treats at Thanksgiving, finding solace and hope during a difficult Christmas, or choosing a contemplative New Year’s Eve over a bustling party, each experience has left a mark.

Cheers to the memories made, the lessons learned, and the bonds forged during these holidays, weaving a unique and colorful chapter in the story of my time in the United States.

Until next time! 🤗🧡

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