As a kid, I traveled the world, the son of a military officer. Lived in many states, numerous countries and on several continents. Learned a lot about diverse cultures. All for the better.
Those experiences today give me a broader perspective as sales leader, working with clients and prospective clients across a wide range of industries.
Interesting enough, it’s also given me a greater appreciation of holidays. Growing up global, I became fascinated by the ways they’re celebrated around the world.
Right now in America, we share the season differently—from Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaa. They span from December 12 to January 1 of the New Year.
Those beliefs, along with others, are held worldwide. And I find local customs behind them the most intriguing. How different peoples from many places make this time special in their own ways.
During Hanukkah in Israel, Jewish people eat sufganiyot, a jelly donut fried in oil. This delicacy, gaining popularity in the United States, harkens back to when a precious little bit of oil burned miraculously in the ancient temple for eight days.
Celebrated more in America, Kwanzaa is Swahili for “first fruits.” Similar to lighting the Hanukkah menorah, which has eight lights, the Kwanzaa kinara candle holder has seven. They stand for the same number of principles, such as umoja for unity and kuumba for creativity.
The origins of those practices are easily understood. The oddest one I’ve come across, though, is the Christmas pickle, the last ornament hung on the tree. The child who finds it gets an extra gift.
There are different stories of how this strange decoration came to be. One version began in Germany, back in the late 1800s. Being of German heritage, I’d never heard of the Christmas pickle growing up.
Today, I have a penchant for it. I like the idea of doing something extra—in sales and service for clients and prospective ones, too. Not only during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year.