The holiday season is a great time of year where we can enjoy family time, celebrate the season of giving and eat way too much pie without feeling guilty. This year will be even more special for you as your Au Pair may be celebrating her first Christmas in North America! Throughout our experiences in the Au Pair industry, we have come up with a couple of tips to help you get through the holidays relaxed, stress-free and all with a cup full of cheer!
Your schedule may be filling up quickly due to another work party, school Christmas concerts or skating with the grandparents. We ask that you be mindful of your Au Pair as her schedule may be filling up just as quickly. She may even have plans to go down to Hawaii to celebrate Christmas on the beach. You won’t know what her plans are until you ask, and it’s never too early to plan out the holidays. So pull out the family calendar and, over a cup of tea, go through each day of the holidays. You will both need to be flexible during this time of year to accommodate each other’s needs. Your Au Pair should understand that their job comes first but in the spirit of the holidays, and to make your placement successful, you may need to work together to find a compromise so that both of you have an enjoyable holiday.
The holidays may be a tough time for your Au Pair as this may be her first time away from her family for Christmas. It’s always best to go into these scenarios with the mindset of, “If she can’t be with her own family, then she can be with her Canadian family.” Invite her to join in on your traditional Christmas morning skate or if you’re sending out a Christmas card, include her into the picture. Fill a stocking for her to make her feel included or get her to write a letter to Santa with the kids. Anything to make her feel at home and that she is wanted in your family.
Holiday seasons are usually followed by harsh Canadian winters. Help your Au Pair adjust to the changes in the weather by getting her prepared. She may be use to having a warm, sunny holiday where she can open presents on the beach. If this is the case, go shopping with her to get her proper winter attire: scarf, winter mittens and a proper Canadian toque! This is when we need to remember the old Scandinavian saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
This is also a great opportunity for you to learn about how other cultures celebrate the holiday season. Ask your Au Pair about some traditions that her and her family have. Try to include them into your holiday season as well! Ask her lots of questions about how she celebrates the holidays, any special songs she likes to sing, any traditional meals she likes to make. This will make her feel more welcomed and perhaps you can get a sweet treat in the process!