To bring about awareness of the diversity of holiday traditions and celebrations in the U.S. to the local Lao community, on December 17, 2015, English Language Fellow, Anne Talavera, talked about American holiday traditions and celebrations at the U.S.Embassy’s new American Center in Vientiane, Lao P.D.R.  Over 70 students and their families from the local Lao community attended the event. Anne wanted to communicate the many different ways in which the holiday season is celebrated throughout the U.S.  She discussed the history and traditions of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas.  She even shared pictures and anecdotes of her own family’s food and traditions back home in California.  Anne also facilitated a snowflake-making arts and crafts activity, shared a recipe for homemade apple cider and the kissing tradition of the mistletoe, all of which the students very much enjoyed.  Santa even made a surprise appearance!  He delighted the audience with his ho-ho-ho’s and distributed small gifts to everyone.  Anne wrapped up the event with FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s reading of ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  Students brought their friends and families, and together, they shared their thoughts and ideas about holiday traditions, food, music and culture with one another.

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