Multicultural Holidays

Multicultural families celebrate the holidays

As a half Mexican, half Chinese woman married to a Russian-born man, holidays can be a little complicated. My husband and I both agree that the holiday season is a time for giving. A time to reflect on the blessings of the past year and celebrate the people that we have and that we will meet. From there, however, we go in different directions.

My husband grew up in Russia where they didn’t celebrate Christmas. Instead, they celebrated the New Year as their Christmas, but it wasn’t really Christmas because his family doesn’t believe in Christ.

For me, coming from a very Catholic family (my mom wanted to be a nun before she met my dad), we celebrate Christmas. New Year’s is also a big holiday for us – we are Chinese in Hawaii and have a HUGE family. Imagine 50+ relatives gathering to celebrate New Year’s Eve and eating traditional Chinese treats.

The first time my husband spent Christmas with us, he was astounded by how many ornaments we had accumulated (one for each member of our family every year) and how decorated our house was (my family used to always decorate the house for Christmas).  He was stunned by the first time he went to our family’s New Year’s Eve party (right after we got married).

When we were dating, my husband would spend Christmas with my family and New Year’s with his. Now that we are married with a child, we are discussing how we can share our holidays. So far, we haven’t visited New York for New Year’s Eve, but I believe it will soon be a very big possibility.

My husband has brought it up before – that his family celebrates New Year’s Eve so we should spend Christmas with my family and go there for New Year’s Eve. It hasn’t worked out quite so well because my family is in Hawaii and his is in New York. We are probably going to start going to visit his parents one year and mine the next.  It’ll be a great fun for our daughter, and I look forward to learning new traditions, but I’ll miss the days when I know I’ll be spending Christmas and New Year with my family – getting dressed up and running down the stairs to have Christmas brunch with my family and gorging myself on Chinese treats on New Years.

Herring Under a Fur Coat (my husband’s favorite), Blinis and Borscht sound tempting. Experiencing holidays with both grandparents will be important for my daughter to experience something different and new. When she is older, she will be able to share her multicultural holiday experiences with others.

How do you celebrate the holidays? Do you celebrate together? Do you do a trade off? Do you celebrate multiple different holidays, multicultural holidays, or just one? Have you tried, like I’m proposing, a holiday split?

Multicultural Mom

Kathleen Komin is a mom to an active, happy toddler and three fur babies. Although her home is a little chaotic, she revels in all the experiences that are thrown at her. She created her blog to write about her experiences as a multicultural parent as well as her varied interests that include fashion, Doctor Who, and organic cooking. 

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6 thoughts on “Multicultural Holidays”

  1. What a great post – it’s lovely to have so many places and people to celebrate with but it can be so difficult to balance it all! We try to alternate Christmas between our families – my husband’s family is spread throughout southern Africa and my family is in the States but because we also live in southern Africa funds and time off haven’t always allowed this. We’ve only spent one of the last 6 Christmases in the States and I really miss all the traditions (and the snow) that I grew up with – maybe next year. This year we are enjoying Christmas in Botswana with my parents-in-law. Wishing you a wonderful holiday!!

  2. Thanks for sharing. We split Christmas and new year too – UK, France and Mexico. Can’t do all in the same year so we alternate. Haven’t made it to Mexico yet with our son, the idea of such a long flight is not appealing! Planning to go next year though for his Tia ‘s wedding.

  3. What a wonderful gift for your kids to spend Christmas in Hawaii and New Year’s in NYC! My kids would want to do that! And celebrating such a wealth of multicultural traditions sounds lovely too!

  4. Kathleen…wonderful post. I truly enjoyed reading it. I loved these lines “A time to reflect on the blessings of the past year and celebrate the people that we have and that we will meet. From there, however, we go in different directions.” very nice..
    Me and my husband are from India but we are living in USA. I can understand sometimes how challenging it gets when you have to respect the culture where you are living into and at the same time you want to pass on your family’s tradition to them.

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