Coquito, Ugly Sweaters and Video Chats — DETOUR Editors Share New and Old Holiday Traditions

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  • Published on December 23, 2022
  • Last Updated March 21, 2023
  • In DETOUR Desk

DETOUR wishes you Happy Holidays by sharing some traditions from across the globe.

Ron Stodghill, Founder

“I wish I could call it a tradition, but I do love going home during the holidays. Michigan in winter is beautiful. I enjoy spending long snowy afternoons hanging out with family and friends. For me, there’s no better way to end the year.”

Zuleide de Carvalho, Assigning Editor

“It’s funny realizing what Christmas looks like depending on which part of the world I’m in.

If I’m back home in Angola, I’m surrounded by beloved ones with lots of laughter, competing only with the huge amount of food on the table. Plus, there’s constant music in the background, I can spend hours dancing as we enjoy the summer breeze. If I’m in Portugal, I’m celebrating with friends and receiving tons of socks as gifts.

In the U.S., for my new Christmas tradition, I decided to wear an ugly sweater, while keeping my Angolan-Portugal Christmas Eve meal as simple as it is: boiled cod, potatoes, eggs, chickpeas, cabbage and carrots, drizzled with a generous amount of olive oil.

Gina Arias, Senior Editor

Leading up to the holidays, we watch a lot of movies: A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, to name a few. I celebrate Christmas with two styles: Dominican on the 24th and American on the 25th. On Christmas Eve, there’s food, drinking, and dancing and the next day is a much more chill day. (When my son was little, he’d received gifts on Three Kings Day (January 6) instead of Christmas Day. For the last 18 years, we’ve added Kwanzaa celebrations as part of our holiday traditions. Lastly, throughout the season, there’s also plenty of coquito and eggnog.

Jonathan “JC” Allen, SVP Digital Business & Product Development

You know that old joke, “How did Darth Vader know what Luke got him for Christmas? He felt his presents!” Well, that’s a holiday tradition in my British-Sri Lankan family.

It evolved from my dad filling our Christmas stockings as kids. But now that my sister and I are adults, evidently, he could not break the habit of acquiring many pointless tchotchkes, bizarre bric-a-brac, naff knick knacks and tacky trinkets.

We’ve not managed to muster an intervention yet, so to feed his habit, all the guests assembled at my parent’s house now must play the guessing game where, you guessed it, we have to feel an assortment of increasingly obscure objects… erm, I mean “gifts”… through the wrapping paper and guess what they are before we can open them. He enforces a strict set of rules though: every item must cost less than £2 ($3 ish) and you’re allowed to ask 10 questions.

I’ll tell ya, a ball of yarn, chocolate orange, glove of finger LEDs, or a Heinz Baked Beans tin that doubles as a secret stash box, Barack Obama Pez dispenser and Queen’s Jubilee memorial paper clip, never felt so good. I can never quite bring myself to chuck them in the bin… after all, these teeny-tiny screwdrivers might come in handy one day.

Jonathan Webb, Chief Executive Officer

At Christmas dinner we read some scripture and then each person will share something they experienced this past year for which they are very grateful.

Denise Kaigler, Chief Marketing Officer

My holiday tradition goes back more than 20 years and has even survived a divorce. Whenever we’re together during either Thanksgiving or Christmas (we did it this past Thanksgiving via Zoom), my kids and their dad (my ex) go around and talk about what we are most thankful for or blessed to have. My kids used to roll their eyes when it was time to share, but they’ve grown to enjoy and appreciate the special moments.

Jasmine Bourdeau-Stodghill, Vice-President of Standards and Procedures

In celebration of the New Year, we cover the table in newspaper, roll up our sleeves and eat king crab legs. Since my extended family is in New York, we countdown the New Year twice. First with them on video chat and then an hour later here in the Midwest.

Cori Murray, Executive Producer

My holidays in southern Maryland were pretty, well, traditional: Christmas Day presents and a big meal with enough carbs to last a lifetime with my small, immediate family. But when I started celebrating with my Haitian partner, I saw the season through a new lens. Walking into his aunt’s Crown Heights, Brooklyn living room, I was transported to Haiti as their island cuisine and classic konpa engulfed my senses. This was not a time to be quiet and reflective; it was time to party. From the massive plates of lambi (conch in kreyol sauce), diri ak djon djon (black rice) and griot (fried pork) to the cups of Barbancourt or kremas, a rum-based coconut crème drink, my holidays took on new meaning of joyous gatherings.


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