Decking the Halls with a Global Twist: Holiday Decorating with your Exchange Student

The holiday season is a time for warmth, joy, and the celebration of traditions. For host families with exchange students from across the globe, it's an opportunity to create a unique blend of cultural festivities. Embracing diversity and sharing traditions, this blog offers ten creative ways to infuse your home with a global twist while decorating with your exchange student.

Cultural Ornament Exchange

There's magic in the exchange of traditions. Encourage your exchange student to create ornaments representing their country's customs. These ornaments can be symbols of luck, prosperity, or cherished holiday moments. From Chinese red lanterns symbolizing luck to German wooden nutcrackers, each ornament tells a story. Incorporating these unique pieces onto your tree creates a vibrant tapestry of global celebrations right in your living room.


Diverse Holiday Wreaths

The wreath is a symbol of unity and continuity. Invite your exchange students to create wreaths using materials reflective of their culture. For instance, the use of pine, holly, or mistletoe in Western cultures can contrast beautifully with the use of bamboo, lotus flowers, or pine needles from Asia. Discuss the symbolism behind each element to create wreaths that are not just decorative but culturally rich.


Global Cuisine-inspired Décor

Spice up your holiday kitchen with more than just traditional decorations. The aroma of spices and the colors of diverse cuisines bring life to your holiday kitchen. Infuse your decorations with culinary diversity—hang chili peppers, display pasta ornaments, or create wreaths using aromatic herbs. These additions not only delight the senses but also serve as a homage to the global table.


Language-themed Garland

Language is the gateway to understanding cultures. Craft garlands showcasing holiday greetings in various languages. Consider incorporating famous holiday quotes or sayings from different cultures.These garlands, woven with words from different lands, add an educational and festive touch to your home, fostering a spirit of inclusivity and learning.


Storytelling Through Stockings

Stockings hung with care can tell tales of traditions. Incorporate storytelling onto stockings by featuring narratives or symbols representing your exchange students' holiday stories. It's a beautiful way to weave their cultural heritage into your holiday traditions.


Festive Table Setting Showcasing Diversity

The dining table becomes a canvas for cultural celebration. Enhance your table setting with elements from around the world—tableware, centerpieces, or napkins reflecting various traditions. Consider not only the elements but also the arrangement and symbolism behind each cultural piece. Each item invites conversation and appreciation for different cultural aesthetics. Discuss the significance of colors, motifs, and patterns, and how they differ across various cultures


Global Music Playlist and Decorative Instruments

Music transcends boundaries. Create a playlist of holiday tunes from different cultures, curated with contributions from your exchange students. Delve deeper into the rhythms and melodies of different cultures, exploring not just holiday tunes but the stories behind them. Display traditional musical instruments as decorations, sparking curiosity and appreciation for diverse musical traditions.


Cultural Tree Toppers

The crowning touch to your tree becomes a symbol of global unity. If you have a tree in your home, invite your exchange student to create a tree topper representing their cultural roots. Go beyond the standard stars or angels to incorporate intricate cultural symbols. Discuss the significance of each topper, adding a little more meaning to your holiday tree.


Holiday Recipe Exchange

The kitchen becomes a cultural melting pot through shared recipes. Extend the culinary exchange by hosting a cooking session where exchange students can showcase their culinary skills. Capture the process in a mini-documentary or photo series to accompany the compiled recipes, creating a visual celebration of global flavors.


Celebratory Light 

Illuminate your home with a display inspired by various festivals of light around the world. Incorporate strings of lights or lanterns reminiscent of Diwali, Hanukkah, or the Lantern Festival. The diverse glow not only decorates but also celebrates the cultural significance of light in different traditions.


As you deck the halls with your exchange student, you're not just adorning your home with decorations but weaving a tapestry of cultural richness. These ten ideas celebrate the beauty of diversity, fostering a deeper understanding of different traditions and creating unforgettable holiday memories.

Tags: Host Families, Exchange Student, Holidays, Christmas

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