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Holiday Celebration Tips for Interfaith Families

The challenge for interfaith families is to create holiday celebrations that respect and honor all their religious values and traditions. It's not an easy task, and there's no absolutely "right" way to do it. But the following suggestions will help you establish a meaningful, respectful holiday environment for you and your kids.

Plan Ahead
Plan and discuss with your family your interfaith approach to the holidays well before the holiday season. There should be no anticipatory anxieties, worries or confusion about how you will celebrate your holidays.

Share Your Decision
You must come to a mutually agreed upon decision about your holiday celebrations and share this decision with your children. Your kids need you to set the tone, direction and comfort level of the holidays. They need to know what factors were considered when you made your decisions.

Recognize Both Traditions
Both parents' holiday traditions should be honored. Even if your kids are being raised in one religious and/or cultural tradition, they should learn about the religious and cultural holiday traditions of both parents. Give your children the gifts of your holiday rituals and traditions. Let them at least hear about, if not experience, your childhood holiday customs

Celebrate Holidays Separately
Don't combine and homogenize both holidays into one celebration. Commemorate and celebrate each holiday separately, explaining the variations of your traditions.

Don't Let the Kids Decide
You need to decide how your family will celebrate the holidays. Leaving this decision to your children will make them confused and scared they will choose "wrongly" and offend one or both of you.

Celebrate with Other Families
Consider celebrating the holidays with other interfaith families. This may cause your children to feel less isolated in their experience.

Make Your Own Traditions
Create new holiday traditions that complement and honor the childhood rituals that you choose to maintain.

Helpful Reading
Raising Your Jewish-Christian Child: How Interfaith Parents Can Give Children the Best of Both Their Heritages, by Lee F. Gruzen

Between Two Worlds: Choices for Grown Children of Jewish-Christian Parents, by Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

More on: Christmas

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