End of year traditions: Celebrating Christmas and New Year

Time has flown again this year and soon both Christmas and New Year will be upon us! It is an exciting time of the year and although not everyone celebrates Christmas, in the United States it is difficult to avoid – Christmas is everywhere!

In this holiday blog we will talk about American Christmas traditions, New Year’s Eve, and the famous ball-drop at Times Square, and finally what you can expect at Zoni over the coming weeks.

Although Christmas has its origins in Christianity, the holiday is now a time for togetherness, regardless of religion. Christmas is most often celebrated with friends and/or close family. But in addition to this, there are always many parties and events in the weeks before Christmas. It is not unusual to have a work Christmas party, a party with friends, maybe your building or gym will throw a party too – there is a lot of celebrating to do!

An important symbol of Christmas is the Christmas tree. In the weeks before Christmas you will see people selling real trees on street corners. You can buy decorations almost everywhere, and if a real tree is not your thing, you can also find fake trees at stores like Walmart or Target. If you live in a small space or just don’t feel like having a Christmas tree, you can still get into the Christmas spirit by visiting the giant tree at the front of the Rockefeller Center, or come to Zoni and take a selfie by our lovely tree!

Like Thanksgiving, most families get together for a big Christmas ‘dinner’ either on the 24th or 25th of December. Presents are also a big part of Christmas. Children write letters to Santa and leave milk and cookies out for him before they go to bed. When they wake up in the morning it is always very exciting to see if Santa has eaten his treats and left gifts under the tree! The exchange of gifts among friends and family is also common. Sometimes there will be what is called a “Secret Santa”. Instead of buying gifts for all your family or friends you draw a name from a hat. You cannot tell anyone whose name you drew. That is the person you should buy a gift for. Sometimes there are other rules like a price limit or something else like “you must make the gift by hand”. Games like these take the pressure off needing to buy gifts for many people and are also fun!

Aside from gift giving, another important part of celebrating Christmas is food! Christmas dinner can either be eaten at night or at lunch time. Like Thanksgiving it is usually a big meal with a variety of different dishes and a dessert. Typical American Christmas dinners include things like a roast beef, a glazed ham or even a roast chicken. In addition, sides like creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits are served. Although traditional Christmas desserts like fruit cake and pecan pie are not as popular as they once were, gingerbread, bourbon balls and of course eggnog are still widespread at this time of year.

With all this delicious food it is not surprising that many people overeat and end up on the sofa in a ‘food coma’. A food coma is when you have eaten so much all you can do is lie down! Another popular post-Christmas dinner saying is “I’m having a food baby!”. This refers to having a big full stomach after eating too much – you look like you are pregnant, but it’s just the food!

Exactly a week after Christmas, it’s time to start fresh! It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, New Year’s Eve (NYE) is usually a big deal. Although not everyone attends a big New Year’s party, almost everyone in one way or another will stay up to countdown to the new year. There are many ways to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. From house parties to concerts, fireworks and more, New Year’s Eve is usually full of excitement.

In New York City the most traditional way to celebrate NYE is to go to Times Square for the iconic ball drop. The ball drop first took place in 1907, when the ball was dropped from a flagpole on Times Square. Since then, there have been seven different balls used for this NYE tradition. Literally millions of people are expected to gather at Times Square for the ball drop. If you want to be part of the fun, we recommend going very early in the day. The spaces closest to the ball drop are extremely limited.

Dress warmly, pack snacks, a power bank for your phone and make sure you know where the nearest toilets are! If you don’t feel like standing out in the cold for hours, you can watch the ball drop on TV on ABC, starting from 8pm or you can watch the live stream online. More information about the ball drop can be found here. [ https://timessquareball.net/ ]

We have had a wonderful 2022 and have so much to be proud of! Mr Nieto, CEO and Founder of Zoni Language Centers has a special Christmas message for you all:

Dear Zoni Family and Friends,

know that many of you are looking for a fresh 2023 start. I feel very proud and humbled by the incredible things that Zoni has done and made for its students, faculty, and staff around the world. Together, we have accomplished so much this year, and I look forward to accomplishing more with you in the future. We have been successful in strengthening our databases with the work of our dedicated team. For all staff, the improvements have made the processes smoother, saving us a lot of time and resources, and providing transparency, unlike the previous traditional systems. We are also moving forward in building a robust teacher's portal and integrating tests and others. Grading is slowly moving away from the old-fashioned paperwork. We also have invested more than a year to a new Zoni proprietary curriculum for children online that comes to life this January 31st, 2023. Coming to light is the beginning of the new Zoni Kid’s classes, which will mark another milestone for Zoni. In our reengineering and regrouping processes, we’ve reached almost 50% of our Zoni-360°QA™ (Zoni 360° Quality Assurance Program) to guarantee “World Class Services”. As part of Zoni students’ lives, the increase in Zoni activities/field trips have been a great success beyond the classroom to facilitate the social and cultural elements in the ESL language learning process.

At the same time, with all these achievements, I am happy that we have also given our students what they needed the most; a trusted educational setting that cared deeply for them throughout their studies. All these achievements are because of our incredible teams that work unconditionally for our students to deliver the classes and make students feel like they are home. Accordingly, I want to sincerely thank Zoni Faculty, Staff and Partners for your dedication and loyalty to our community. You are truly the Zoni Pillars.

As if the above is not enough, Zoni is also the recipient of the 2022 Award as the Service Innovator of the Year at Go Global Awards. We stood out globally from the crowd and were recognized by the International Trade Council comprising of 50 countries where more than 6000 organizations participated. The award was presented to me in Tallinn, Estonia.

In the face of changes, I see opportunities where others may see problems. Each day of the last 32 years at Zoni, I always thought how we can be of value to our community. This has been constantly on my mind. At Zoni, we continue to push ourselves to be the best. Healthy growth can only come from changes and commitment to mobilize them, and I believe that the way we respond and adapt to changes makes all the difference, showing one's true potential. Our student community is growing and keeps us constantly on our toes to better ourselves and forces us to continue directing all our attention and energy towards this goal. My vision for the new year is to grow strategically towards innovation and international expansion by building strong relationships and creating a stronger culture that makes Zoni unique in the global ESL education industry with the help of technology.

We appreciate your loyalty to Zoni. We extend our warmest wishes on this Holiday Season to you and your family!


Zoilo Nieto

On behalf of the entire Zoni family, we wish you all a very happy holidays! We cannot wait to welcome you to our school in 2023!

If you would like any information about our courses you can visit our website: www.zoni.edu or you can contact us at info@zoni.edu

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