Some Tri-State families will be a little bigger this holiday season, as they welcome in students from overseas.
Part of the lessons? How to celebrate Christmas–American style.
This is the first year the Kixmillers of Gibson County have been a host family, but they’re making sure that those they welcome into their home get the full experience of a country Christmas.
“If she could put that on her name I think she would in a heartbeat,” Tara Kixmiller said of her last name. “She has been a wonderful addition to this family.”
Ariella Moreni may call Italy home, but she’ll always have a place with the Kixmillers.
“It’s an amazing experience. It has shown my kids that there’s more to this world than just what’s behind our doors and what they see every day,” Tara said of hosting.
Ariella has been here for a few months, but for her, there’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in Indiana.
“I love the house and the lights that they have all over the porch. It’s wonderful seeing the house lighting up. Then, we went to the Christmas village with pretty houses all lighting up. And I was like, ‘wow, that’s wonderful,'” Ariella explained.
She’s part of a program meant to immerse her in American culture and to take life in the Tri-State across the world.
“Here we’ve brought her into the country. Chickens and dogs and birds, and everything you can imagine. It’s just a different culture here. It’s an experience she’ll be able to take back with her,” Tara listed.
But trading traditions hasn’t just been a one-way trip, with the Kixmiller’s classic Midwest Christmas getting a little Italian flair.
In a season meant for all walks of life to come together in celebration, the Kixmillers have found one way to bring the world home for the holidays.
“For saying Merry Christmas, I teach to Tara how to say it a couple days ago. It’s ‘buon Natale.’ She started saying ‘bone Natale,’ and to me it was really funny, but probably to you, sounds the same.”
If your family is interested in hosting an international student of your own, you can find out more here.