While waiting at a grocery store in Ecuador (South America), I noticed that the grocery sacks had Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on them with the saying, ‘thinking of the Christmas’.  I could not help but wonder if this was an example of secular influences in expressing Christmas or perhaps not?  Deciding to practice value 1 (connections) I thought it would be best to ask a few individuals around me who appeared to be Ecuadorian and could perhaps translate for me what was the significance of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and its connection with Christmas in Ecuador. What I discovered after a limited number of encounters is that the individuals who noticed the sacks said the image made them happy and others said that it reminded them of childhood, watching television programs with their families.  So perhaps, while it is secular symbol, it has been transformed to represent a near-religious symbol of being happy and of family both of which are important sentiments of the holiday. I am reminded yet again that when receiving information it is always helpful to ask follow up questions rather than standing by my first or culturally guided interpretation. Happy holidays!–D.G.

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