You might feel like this year has flown by or you might be counting down the days until you can welcome in a new year, either way we’re now only weeks away from entering 2024.
Whether you’re reading this as one of our valued colleagues, a partner or customer, we just wanted to say how much we appreciate all your hard work, support and loyalty over the past 12 months.
We know it’s our people, of more than 40 nationalities, who make AEC what it is.
So, as we wind down to take a break over the holiday season, we thought we’d take a look at some intriguing traditions in our main AEC locations around the world, to see how some of you may (or may not) be celebrating the holidays.
Keeping the magic alive in Canada
One of the favorite traditions we came across is in Canada, home to our global headquarters in St Catharines. In Canada, they go all out to keep the magic of Santa alive by sending out Santa’s post office stamped letters and replies. For more than 40 years, Canada postal elves have been busy helping Santa sort through over one million letters per year from around the world! A lovely effort made for all the children, don’t you think?
For the sporty types, in many provinces across Canada, neighborhoods have hockey games at the local rink, a frozen over pond, or just in the street throughout winter and even on Christmas Day. That’s not a bad way to burn off that extra helping of roast potatoes.
Late trees and early presents in Germany
Every year, there are plenty of conversations, lively debates even, about people putting up their Christmas trees a little prematurely. We all know someone who can’t make it to the end of November, right? Well, the next time you find defending anytime in December as a perfectly reasonable time to put up a Christmas tree, you can always pull out this fact! Traditionally in Germany, trees are only put up on Christmas Eve and many are sticking to this tradition even today.
On the other hand, as well as the tree being decorated on Christmas Eve, it’s also tradition that presents are opened that same night. According to tradition, the ‘Christkind’ (Christ child) brings presents when the children are outside the room and a bell is rung so that the children can run in and rip them open. We wonder if any of our colleagues from our Munich offices are waiting until December 24 to put their trees up?
Father Christmas comes more than once a year in Belgium
Santa’s a busy guy over in Belgium according to tradition. He first visits on December 4 to decide which boys and girls will be on his naughty and nice lists. Then, on December 5 he’s back again to reward good children with sweets and toys. Unfortunately, the naughty children just get wooden sticks.
Forget jingle bells, it’s all about the bagpipes in Italy
Bagpipes aren’t the first musical instrument you’d associate with Italy, but Christmas time brings them out across many Italian cities, including Rome. The men playing the bagpipes across the towns’ piazzas are known as and they dress as shepherds. Why? It all stems from the story of the shepherds who visited Jesus on the night he was born and played the bagpipes for him. Since ancient Roman times, shepherds have journeyed from their mountain homes into the towns’ squares to earn some extra money by playing the bagpipes.
We’ve really enjoyed looking into different seasonal traditions from around the world – it definitely helped us get even more into the festive spirit. We all have our own traditions, but what we love most about this time of year is how it brings people together. Whether it’s sharing stories with your colleagues, taking part in secret Santa, or arranging some festive drinks to cheers to the end of working year.
Wherever or however you’re celebrating over the holidays, and whatever your traditions, we hope it’s special and you have plenty of time to relax and feel refreshed to take on 2024.
From the entire team here at AEC, we wish you very happy holidays!