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With the end of 2021, we thought it was about time to uncover some of the different festive traditions of the YHS members. Some people celebrate Christmas Eve, some others celebrate on the 25th of December, others celebrate both, and many do not celebrate this event at all!


To start off, I would like to share my personal experience! What makes my Christmas peculiar is that I never celebrate it in the same way. In fact, as my parents live in different countries, I tend to celebrate this event one year in Switzerland and the next year in Italy. Even though there are many differences between these two celebrations, one tradition remains the same: we always gather on the evening of the 24th of December. We prepare a special dinner (meat-based when I am with my dad and fish-based with my mum), we sing Christmas songs, open presents, and play board games. Overall, I love the atmosphere and the hikes we do on the 25th, but absolutely hate the 2 kg I gain every time after the celebrations 😉. 


Now, let’s dive into some even more interesting YHS-holiday-stories! 



Hoda is a third-year student currently working for Dior in her hometown, Dubai! Growing up in a Muslim country, she never celebrated Christmas in a sentimental way, but, as a teenager, she started a fun tradition with her friends: the “Arab Christmas”! Something special about this event? The menu is American and cranberry-based! This event is a fun reinterpretation of what Hoda and her friends perceive as an American cliché celebration. During the pandemic, last year, Hoda was forced to spend the holidays in Switzerland and was extremely surprised by the lack of festive atmosphere and decorations. I must say that the fact that Hoda experienced this time of the year in Epalinges (a small village near Lausanne) was quite unfortunate! In fact, she thought it was very ironic how a Middle-Eastern country would put so much more effort into decorations compared to Switzerland. To defend my home country, though, I really invite Hoda to visit any other big Swiss city in December and hope she will be positively surprised! 


Léa is also currently in Dubai for an exciting internship at the iconic Atlantis Resort. Unlike Hoda, this December she will celebrate Christmas in quite an unusual way for her. In fact, Léa normally celebrates both the 24th and the 25th with her family in cold Paris. More specifically, Léa's Christmas Eve is characterized by a lot of food and a great atmosphere. And when I say a lot of food, I truly mean a LOT of food: smoked salmon, oysters, seafood, foie gras, toasts, all sorts of pâté, cheese platters, and desserts! After dinner, the children prepare some milk and biscuits to be put under the Christmas tree for Santa Claus and the next morning they open all the presents! This year will definitely be a very different experience: an average temperature of 28°C, more than 6’000km away from her family, and no days off from work. Having said this, I am sure that Léa will make the most out of it, by spending some quality time with her friends! 



Next we have Ritvik from New Delhi, India, who is currently working from home for a British company. Similarly to Hoda’s experience in Dubai, people in his city perceive Christmas as rather commercial. Even though he never celebrated this event, Ritvik admitted that his family used to tell the children to sleep early as Santa Claus might be arriving during the night. Rather than a celebration, though, he viewed this as a discipline scheme! Due to COVID-19, Ritvik was also forced to remain in Switzerland during the last winter holidays but, contrarily to Hoda, he had an amazing experience! All the lights, the jolly atmosphere, and the festive activities reminded him of Diwali (one of the most important Indian celebrations). But if you were to imagine Ritvik’s activities in wintertime in Switzerland, rest assured that you would find him playing around in the snow!  


Finally, Kamilia also shared with me her winter holiday traditions. Originally from Russia, Kamilia explained to me how, from a religious point of view, Christmas is celebrated between the 6th and the 7th of January. For her family, though, the most important celebration of the year is New Year’s Eve! Normally Russians celebrate this event with their friends and family in wintery Russia, but Kamilia’s family is special. In fact, for almost 13 years now, the whole family travels to Thailand to celebrate the start of the new year! Since Kamilia’s family could not reach their holiday destination last year due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, they instead remained in cold Russia during this warm-hearted celebration. You can only imagine how excited and grateful Kamilia is to be able to continue this tradition this year as she welcomes 2022! 


I could continue sharing many more seasonal traditions as every team member grew up with different experiences, but hope this already allowed you to gain some more insights into how diverse our YHS-world is. 

I also take this occasion to thank every single YHStories reader for following our committee development and look forward to the exciting events that we will be encountering in the new year. I sincerely wish you a healthy, fruitful, and joyful start of 2022! 

A Few Words From the Author - Sofia Gerber

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I am Sofia Gerber, a third-year EHL student, and am currently Head of PR & Press within the Young Hoteliers Summit’s Committee. Growing up between the Swiss Alps and the Mediterranean Sea allowed me to become open-minded and communicative. Other than writing, I love art museums and could not live without oat milk cappuccino!"