Tips on How to Blend Family Holiday Traditions

menorah and xmas tree

Growing up Baptist in Newark, NJ, I didn’t know much about Judaism.  But after 16 years as a part of my husband’s family (he’s Jewish and African-American), I’ve learned that cheese kugel tastes very much like baked mac and cheese, how to sit shiva and that my mother-in-law is the queen of kvetching (love you, mean it:)).

With the number of interracial marriages at an all time high, diverse families are faced with deciding how to define family tradition, customs and holiday celebrations.  While weaving family traditions together can be challenging, it can also be enriching and rewarding.  Learning about other cultural traditions can open up a world of new experiences.

Below, I’ve listed  a few ideas on how you can blend holiday traditions:

Decide which holidays are most important to each of you

Have an open conversation about which holidays and traditions you want to embrace and plan to pass down to your children.  It will eliminate assumptions about where and how you spend your holidays.  My husband and I started dating around the holidays, so we established this early on.  Luckily, our traditions didn’t conflict.  But in the case that they do, be prepared to compromise.

Incorporate the meaning of the holiday into the celebration

It’s funny how many times we celebrate holidays without discussing their true meaning.  Take time to explain the significance of the holiday to your spouse or partner.  This will help them understand the heritage, history and why it is important to you.

Create your own traditions

One of the best things about being a couple is creating new traditions and memories together.   After a couple of years of trying to visit family in two states on Thanksgiving day, we decided to start hosting the holiday at our home.  It became the one time of year that our entire family got together.  Whatever you decide, let your relationship and things that you enjoy doing together inspire you to start your own traditions.

In the end, any holiday that brings your family and friends together is worth celebrating.

Happy Holidays!