Music

Salsa, merengue rhythms flavor Shakira's holiday season

Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM ET

Shakira may be an international singing sensation, but her Christmas memories are spiced by her Colombian heritage. And as she told TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager Monday, the holiday is celebrated with a different flavor there.

"Christmas in Colombia is a whole different story," she said. "You're not going to hear a lot of the traditional Christmas carols. We have adaptations to those songs in merengue and salsa rhythm. ... But it's all about the family and spending time with your loved ones."

Speaking of which, this year the musician will be sharing her holiday for the first time with her son Milan (who turns 1 in January) and partner, soccer star Gerard Pique (Milan's dad). And as she explained, she's hoping to set a good example for her son in terms of what the season is really all about. 

"I want him to love people," she said. "I want him to really grow up in a world where he trusts others."

To that end, Shakira is helping donate school supplies to children in need (and even packed up some bags with Hager). She's long been a philanthropist, starting the Barefoot Foundation when she was 18 to address inequalities in education. 

"We often ask ourselves, 'Why am I here?'" she said. "I know I'm not here to eternally shake it. You know, I love my career ... but definitely working with children has been one of the most satisfying and fulfilling things that I've done in my life."

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