Hollywood picture postcard images of Christmas bombard our senses earlier and earlier each year. The festive season is heralded as a period of fun, celebration and joviality amongst family and old friends. However, over recent years a common theme I’ve observed amongst family and friends is pure exhaustion in the effort to surpass the culturally and socially constructed expectations of a “perfect” Christmas.
Our festive traditions replicated year on year become entrenched deeper within our cultural norms, and the real meaning of Christmas is often overshadowed. My original Watson Family Christmas Day rituals embedded from childhood involved bucks fizz, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, present opening, the compulsory brisk walk and glutinous food consumption all followed by a post lunch snooze. These annual habits formed a comfortable, familiar and predictable routine. However, recent exposure to different festive cultural rituals such as cycling around Rottnest Island in Western Australia or enjoying off-piste skiing in Flegere, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France have challenged my preconceived expectations and broadened my mind.
The collision of different customs, cultures, generations, organisations, relationships, families’ expectations or ideals at Christmas offer an excellent opportunity to redefine our Cultural Intelligence (CQ), shift our core values and beliefs and flex to accommodate other cultures. Our individual malleability “to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures” (Common Purpose, 2015) offers the chance to shape our conversations, interactions, behaviour and more importantly positively influence the overall experience. This notion can be expanded upon through the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) presupposition where the “meaning of communication is the response you get” (ANLP, 2009). In essence, we have a personal responsibility for all our verbal and non-verbal exchanges.
Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and continue to Reach for More. over the festive season.
Photo 1: Festive snowy adventures down the Valley Blanche, Chamonix Mont Blanc, France.
Photo 2: Christmas cycle trip around Rottnest Island, South West Australia.
Photo 3: Little work break to soak up the sun and stunning scenery in Xlendi, Gozo, Malta.
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Common Purpose. (2015). What is Cultural Intelligence? [ONLINE] Available at: http://commonpurpose.org/knowledge-hub/all-articles/what-is-cultural-intelligence/ [Accessed on 2 December 15].
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