The Holiday season – Gymglish edition

2019 is coming to an end and we’re one year closer to climate armageddon.

Still, we’re in a happy mood because this year brought us many gifts: new office, new products, new staff, new interns, and most importantly, a new coffee machine. We even learned the greatest lesson of all – how SEO works, and isn’t that what the English courses Learn English English classes holidays are all about?

To wrap up the year on a more personal note, we want to share with you some holiday traditions from selected members of the Gymglish team. We’re an international group with origins and families around the world, so here are a few of our most memorable holiday.

Peru

Daniella (Business developer, Peru):  “In Peru, we celebrate Christmas in the summer, so Papá Noel brings gifts to children under the scorching hot sun. Christmas Eve is mostly celebrated with close family. A traditional Christmas dinner includes turkey served with an apple sauce, and (illegal) fireworks blast off through the night”. Truly a peaceful image.

Israel

Dan (Customer Care, Israel): “In Israel, we celebrate Hanukkah (also called ‘The festival of lights’), which lasts for eight days. Every evening, we light one candle on a nine-branched candelabra called a “menorah”. Eventually, all eight candles are lit together on the final night. Hanukkah is also a time for giving and receiving small presents that are ultimately disappointing”. What about the potato pancakes, Dan? You’re not giving us the info we need. Franck (Country manager, Israel): “We sing, children play with spinning-tops (dreidels), and the family feasts on delicious sufganiyot, which are doughnuts filled with chocolate, jam, dulce de leche or cream.”

Ukraine

Kseniia (Software developer, Ukraine): “Ukraine is an orthodox country, so Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. People dress up and sing carols to their neighbors. New Year is a much more important holiday than Christmas. As far as alcohol is concerned, people usually drink sparkling wine, one of the most popular one being “Soviet champagne.” Kseniia, you had us at “Soviet champagne”. We’re tired of our western capitalist champagnes.

Catalonia

Daniel (Content writer, Spain): “In Catalonia, children usually keep the Cagatió in their homes in the run-up to Christmas, and feed it small pieces of bread or orange peel each evening. Then, on Christmas Eve, they gently hit the log with wooden spoons and sing the special Cagatió song, asking him to poop out lots of turrón (a sweet nougat) and other candy. The caganer is Christmas icon and a must-have in every manger’s nativity scene – a shepherd dressed in traditional Catalan clothes, with his pants down”. Daniel, we don’t want to judge, but this is some weird sh*t. Literally.

Tunisia

“Muslim new year will be celebrated in August this year,  so the Christmas season is calm and non-existant. One of the traditional dishes for this time of year is the mloukhia. It is a thick black sauce prepared with a plant called Corchorus olitorius. Green symbolizes chance and hope for Tunisian people and the mloukhia symbolizes fertility, happiness and good news. Despite its looks, it’s delicious.” True for most people as well, Enis (Partnership Business Development Manager).

United Kingdom

Francis (content writer, England): “In the UK, the pubs are full of office parties and drunken employees. The churches are empty, except for Christmas Eve when a few lapsed Catholics might decide to pay a visit to a decrepit church before it gets sold to a property developer and turned into loft apartments”. An inspiring image that warms our cockles, Francis.

Olivia (Communications Assistant, France) adds “For dinner, we usually pull a few Christmas crackers which come with pointless gadgets, awful jokes as well as tissue-paper hats that you wear just for the pre-meal picture. The traditional meal includes a larger-than-life turkey served with roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire Pudding, “pigs in a blanket” (sausages wrapped in bacon), followed by the timeless Christmas Pudding.” Sounds decadent.

Sweden

Leo (CTO, Sweden): “In Sweden, Christmas festivities begin on December 13th with St. Lucia’s Day, which celebrates the patron saint of light. For Swedes, Christmas is a family affair. Traditional Swedish Christmas food includes bread, cheese, potatoes, meatballs, salmon and herring.” Sounds like a very Suede holiday, Leo..

Colombia

Laura (content writer, Colombia):  “Celebrations and preparations start on 1st December with Christmas lights (“el alumbrado“) which are displayed well into January. On the 7th of December, people celebrate “El Día de las Velitas” (The Day of the Little Candles), to honor the Virgin Mary. The main meal, “laCena de Navidad” is eaten Christmas Eve. Traditionally, dishes like natillas (set custard), buñuelos (fried dough balls) and manjar blanco (a milky spread) are enjoyed. Never has a “milky spread” sounded so appetizing.

Germany

Annabel (content writer, Germany): “Advent season is very festive in Germany. In addition to the calendars, a candle is lit on each of the four Advent Sundays. During this period, you can warm up with some mulled wine from the Christmas market. On the 6th of December, we celebrate Nikolaustag (Santa Nicola), where we put sweets and small presents into the boots of the children. On Christmas Eve, the first and second Christmas Days, we celebrate with our family and good food and wine.” We all dream of finding presents in our boots.

France

Bastien (Software developer intern, France): This holiday I’ve mostly spent my time building desks and putting together chairs at the Gymglish office. It’s the most important tradition I’ve ever been a part of. I never want to do anything else on Christmas ever again.”

However you spend the holidays, consider making some New Year resolutions, like learning a language (business is business after all).

On behalf of the Gymglish team: Happy Holidays!

A Christmas Carol, Edwin L. Marin, 1938

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