Preparing for Christmas in a multicultural family.

The run up to the holidays in any family is a pretty intense time of the year. This can often be applied to any holiday but if you pick a family that is mixed of different backgrounds it can add a very interesting layer of creativity. My husband and I have now been married eight years and have as a family celebrated as many Christmases where we had to navigate what would become of our traditions. My husband is Scottish and while his family celebrated a Christmas dinner usually on Christmas Eve which aligns with what my family did (my cultural background is interwoven Canadian and French) it differs from what the rest of Scotland seems to be doing with having the big dinner on Christmas Day itself. Now this is only one of many different ways in which different cultures while sharing the same holiday can celebrate in their own way.

Early on we decided to afford ourselves some flexibility with traditions, we decided to be creative and pick what we thought worked best for us. This usually means that we have our main dinner on Christmas Eve and presents on Christmas Day, we also celebrate St Nicholas prior to Christmas on the 6th of December, on that day our children receive a small treat and new shoes or socks. St Nicholas is a traditional holiday observed in Lorraine, France but also in Quebec and in many other parts of the world such as Poland. I love it and it is something precious from my childhood. We also have a special holiday on the 6th of January which is called Fête des Rois in French and my family celebrated with great care as it also happened to be my dad’s birthday. Through the years we have added some traditions such as our own family Elf who first appeared the year the boys were born as a little warm hug from Santa for the girls, this year one of the boys has become quite fond of looking for the Elf and ours is a friendly little guy who doesn’t cause much mischief but comes to enjoy the run up to Christmas and brings little notes or happy moments to the kids.

We also added some traditions of our own such as hunting for a special ornament, the first ones we have sadly didn’t last and we only renewed this tradition this year now the kids can contribute ideas to what they like. Each child also has a special stocking we always got from the Disney Store, the girls have one from their birth year but sadly in the twins’s case the stockings are from the following year but they match and are adorable just like them and we love hanging them all on the mantelpiece, it feels magical. Some of our traditions happened by accident, one of them is getting a Chip and Dale item for the boys, we did it the first two years we had them and carried on, they share the same initials, we call them our little chipmunks and they have similar personalities so it is a little hint to their early years we will keep going. I think it is important to approach holidays the way we approach life in general. In our case it has always been important to make sure our children had a chance to taste some of the richness of their cultural heritage and it is also easier for myself since I am far from my home country and my family to be able to pass on aspects I love of the holidays to my children. Sadly there is not much snow in Scotland so white Christmases are hard to come by and my babies have never seen one but one day maybe we will get to build a snowman and have a snowball fight outside while hot chocolates are waiting for us inside.

In the end what matters the most for us is that everyone has a lovely time, the kids know Santa might not bring everything on the list, he also brings gifts from their loved ones far away and presents Mommy and Daddy put on hold for them as well and that this special time of the year is for family and loved ones and to share love and happiness with each other. The years will go on but we hope our babies will forever know how loved they are.

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