Holiday season is my favorite time of the year! Not just because of the festive feeling in the air, but also because I get to spend so much time with my family.

From our huge Christmas Eve party that ends with us opening presents at midnight to our New Years Eve celebration when we all eat grapes during the countdown, it's always a great time partaking in these cultural traditions while being surrounded by all my relatives and closest family friends.  And I know when I have my own kids, I will be teaching them those same practices the way my parents did. 

Since Christmas is just around the corner, here are a few other Latin American holiday traditions to pass on to your kids:

 

Dia de Los Reyes Magos 1

In Puerto Rico, part of the tradition for  El Día de los Reyes Magos (January 6th) is to put grass or hay in shoeboxes and a few bowls of water next to the tree so that the camels would have something to fuel them.

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Nochebuena 2

Nochebuena

Image via Thinkstock

Latinos are't typically a patient bunch...which is why Nochebuena, the tradition practiced in Latin American countries of celebrating on Christmas Eve and opening all the presents at midnight, is  perfect for us! 

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12 Grapes 3

12 Grapes

Image via Ibán/flickr

Many Latin American countries follow the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Years in order to commemorate the months of the last year. It is especially popular in Mexican celebrations and is something easy and fun to do with your kids!

New Years Suitcase 4

New Years Suitcase

Image via Dr John2005/flickr

Packing a suitcase on New Years will help ensure safe travel and good luck for the following year...at least according to the Dominican tradition!

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Clean House 5

Clean House

Image via melodramababs/flickr

Another New Years trick that is supposed to give you a clean slate for the coming year? Cleaning your house! According to Cuban tradition, you should also take a bucket of dirty water and throw it over the balcony at midnight to wash away bad energy (you might want to check none of your neighbors are on the street before following that one!).

Yellow Underwear 6

Yellow Underwear

Image via Verónica Bautista/flickr

For reasons I still don't understand, wearing yellow underwear on New Years is also supposed to bring good luck for the upcoming 12 months. It's kind of weird, but requires minimum effort and can't hurt, right?

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Las Posadas 7

Las Posadas

Image via Thinkstock

A primarily Mexican tradition, La Posada requires that children and adults dress up as Mary and Joseph (or that participants carry the images of the religious figures) in a semi-procession during the nine days before Nochebuena.

 

Nativity sets 8

Putting together a nativity set is one of the most beloved Latin Christmas traditions! In most Latin American countries, people "hide" the Baby Jesus figure until it's actually midnight on Christmas Eve.

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Traditional food 9

Traditional food

Image via David_Rojo/flickr

Every country has it's own kind of traditional Christmas food and desserts!  Whether it be tamales, a side of yuca, buñuelos or any of the other variety of dishes, one thing is for sure: they're all delicious and your kids are sure to love sampling them!

La Novena 10

Many Hispanic families practice La Novena, a religious act in which everyone prays together in the nine days leading up to Christmas as means of preparing for the arrival of El Niño Jesus.