Here are 5 ways to create interfaith holiday traditions that will help you integrate your faiths. Around the holiday season, couples that are from different faiths can sometimes struggle to find ways to integrate their holidays. By being thoughtful and respectful of one another, couples can create a wonderful experience during the holidays season that can help them feel connected to both faiths.
Sensory experiences such as the smell of gingerbread cooking or the first snowfall can make us nostalgic for the Winter season. Whatever you celebrate, you probably have childhood memories of what that was like in your home. By sharing these memories with your partner or your children you are letting them into that experience and allowing them to understand its special meaning for you, which is one way to create interfaith holiday traditions.
Take the time to learn the meaning behind various holidays and celebrations so that you can create interfaith holiday traditions based on them. At times children feel a duty to celebrate holidays that fall near each other equally with both of their parents however it is important to explain that each religion has its “high holidays” and they don’t necessarily fall during the same time of year. Explain to your children that it is O.K. to celebrate each holiday in its own unique way and that each holiday has special meaning to celebrate.
Holidays can also evoke strong emotional responses, both happiness and sadness and everything in between. Talk with your partner about your emotional connection to holidays and let them in so that you can create interfaith holiday traditions that matter. Discuss together what kind of experience you’d like your family to have during various holidays. Use this time to bring family together and have meaningful conversations you may not have on any other day. Ask your kids questions about their interpretations of the holidays and what has been meaningful for them.
When creating an interfaith experience for your family it is important to recognize the give and take that may occur. What are you unwilling to part with and why? When kids are involved it is important to be supportive of the plan that you and your partner decided on together. Children can feel subtle hostility, tension, and unhappiness. You may also want to prepare children for how extended family may feel as we cannot always control what messages get sent from others to our children. Form a union within your family not a divide around the holidays. Know that you can’t always make everyone happy but you can create interfaith holiday traditions that will be meaningful.
Traditions can change and evolve over time and when creating an interfaith family you have the creative freedom to choose how you want to celebrate. This is the fun part! Perhaps you and your partner can come up with something totally unique to your family or maybe you prefer to blend the tried-and-true traditions so many love. However you decide to celebrate, have gratitude for those around you and embrace the holiday in your own way.
Remember that it is not always easy to create interfaith traditions and there are people who can help navigate this sometimes tricky topic. Feel free to reach out to Lotus Point Wellness this holiday season. We have experienced, qualified therapists who would be happy to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-960-1198 to schedule an appointment.
By Brittany Beck, LGPC