Happy Holidays From Under30Experiences

Cat Sullivan
January 16, 2024

This time of year we're happy to slow down a bit, appreciate family, and reminisce about the holiday traditions we grew up with.

The Under30Experiences family spans from HQ in Austin, to Peru, Thailand, France, and beyond!

We wanted to share some holiday spirit with our Community, so without further ado, here's some of our staff's favorite holiday traditions from all around the world.

Dan Sgalia, Customer Experience - USA

Dan & Banjo

My family had a tradition growing up of listening to The Polar Express on tape (actual RCA tape cartridge…before the days of audio books and Kindles). On Christmas Eve, we would turn all the lights off and lay under our 10' tree and look up through all the branches draped with lights and decorations. Our dog Banjo always joined us. After the story was over we got to open one present early.

Leá Bouvier, Trip Leader - France


The Christmas holiday means family time, a lot of food and few gifts! For me, its time to go back to France and enjoy it. We get quite a lot of snow in the Cévennes Mountains where I'm from. Every year, my family partakes in one or two sessions of cross-country skiing. I wouldn't miss it for the world! If you've never tried, here are some goods reasons to do it:

  • It's really good fun!
  • It keeps you fit.
  • It DEFINITELY makes you work on your balance.
  • You may encounter wild animals along the way.
  • It's much cheaper than downhill skiing.
  • Best of can laugh at others falling on their bum!

Maricruz Acosta, Regional Manager - Costa Rica

Maricruz (Cuqui)

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love to see all of the decorations and spend time with my family. Every year we visit the homes of all my family members to see their decorations. We sing Christmas carols and eat tamales!

Jenne Nelson, Customer Experience - USA

Jenne & family

Every year we make lefse, a traditional soft Norwegian flat bread. It is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. We gather the day after Christmas and cook as a family.

Roland LLave, Regional Manager - Peru

Roland & his daughters

On December 24th we go to a special market called, "Santurantikuy" where we can buy supplies for our Nativity. This market is located in the main square of Cusco and has been around for over 100 years. At the market we buy a special bread for the family. The bread is made from COCA powder and we call it "Cocatone".

Cesar Romero, Customer Experience - Nicaragua | USA

Cesar & family

For us Latinos, it doesn’t get any bigger than Nochebuena. Nochebuena means “Good Night” in Spanish and refers to Christmas Eve, the biggest Christmas feast for most Latinos. While many people around the world gather together on December 25th to exchange gifts with family and friends, Latinos’ celebrations begin on Christmas’ Eve with a party, large feast, traditional holiday music, dancing, and gift-giving. My family’s heritage includes three nationalities:

  • Nicaraguan
  • Puerto Rican
  • Italian

To honor each nationality, we prepare a special dish for each!

Matt Wilson, Co-Founder - USA

Matt & Luz

Luz and I do our best to be uniquely ourselves despite the pressure during the holidays. While Chilean empenadas, or Matt’s Grandma’s Northern Michigan/French Canadian Tourtière are the norm with our families, we try to respectfully break tradition whenever possible. This year, we grew a live Christmas Tree and have vowed to stay gluten & dairy-free as best we can.

Marion Bres, Regional Manager - France


On December 8th of each year, we place candles outside of our windows. It’s a tradition that started in the 17th century when the plague was striking the city. People promised to show gratitude to Mary, mother of Jesus, if the town was spared from the plague. Now, people continue the tradition and partake in a big festival of lights. People come to Lyon from all over the world to see the light shows and candles.

Cat Sullivan, Marketing - USA

Cat & the family dogs

Every year my dad delicately cracks walnuts, places a riddle inside each, seals them up, and hides them somewhere in the tree. Once we've unwrapped all of our gifts under the tree we go searching for our walnut. We take turns cracking them open and trying to solve the riddle inside. Solving the riddle will take you to your "big" Christmas gift hidden somewhere in the house. My dad's riddles tend to be Lord of the Rings themed...sigh...but I enjoy them all the same. Kind of a weird tradition, but it's spanned three generations already!

Rebecca Formoso, Trip Leader - Spain | Philippines

Rebecca & family

In the Philippines, we attend a nine day series of masses called “simbang gabi” from December 16th to 23rd at around 3:00/4:00 am. On the 24th, we go to mass at 10:00 pm. It sounds really intense but it’s actually really fun. Imagine everyone in your house having to wake up at 2:00/3:00 am. Being a kid it’s also exciting running into your friends that “late”. Outside the church there’ll be vendors where you can also buy some snacks to munch on.

In Spain, we celebrate Christmas but it’s not so big. Some families only put up a Christmas tree the day before Christmas. What we do celebrate is the Three Wise Kings! It is celebrated on the first Sunday in January. That’s when the Spanish really celebrate “Christmas” with a big family get together, parades, and presents.

Andy Walne, Trip Leader - England

Andy & his girlfriend

My tradition coming from an Irish family is basically this.... We buy a tree, open a bottle of Bailey's, and the bottle has to be empty before the fairy goes on top.'s a solid tradition.

Though aside from the alcohol traditions (of which I don't think there are many) we have a large family so each year we hire a house somewhere in the UK big enough for 18 people, 3 babies, and 2 dogs. Christmas is really about spending time with family who we might not see much of throughout the year.

From our U30X family to yours, we wish you a happy & healthy holiday!

Cat Sullivan
Cat is the Senior Marketing Specialist at U30X. She's a Chicago native with a passion for fitness and travel. She enjoys short walks to the fridge and bad karaoke.


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