When my husband and I committed to making a life together, we discussed a handful of important marital decisions that would impact our future. Things like how we would raise our kids, where we would live and what our financial priorities were.
As an interracial couple, some of these discussions were unique to raising a multiracial family, but I’ve learned that, when it comes to the holiday season, lots of people face the illusive balance during this time of year.
From different customs and religions, differing family dynamics or locations, blending various traditions into one harmonious holiday season can be really hard for many of us!
New Family & the Gravity of Old Traditions
I remember our first season as a family of four with our extended family living in another state. As much as we wanted to be with our loved ones, I really wanted to be in our home to cherish the simple moments that the holidays make so special.
Of course the grandmas won out though, so we packed up two small kids and all our holiday cheer for a five hour road trip back “home”. Though it was memorable, I couldn’t help but feel a bit torn. I realized that, in order to embrace each season of the holidays with joy, I would need to learn to balance our values and priorities with those we love most.
Finding Holiday Balance
This year will be our first living in the same state as our extended family, but that doesn’t mean the balance will be any easier. We’re held to a higher standard of presence now that we aren’t traveling. And the challenges to balance it all rests squarely on my shoulders.
Because my children are multiracial, I feel that it’s especially important that they’re exposed to both parts of their heritage. To honor my family and our Latino roots, my family always spends Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) with our small Cuban family, eating pernil y arroz con frijoles, listening to the quick-paced rhythm of their Spanish identity surround them.
On Christmas day, we usher our babies off to my mother-in-law’s house where our kids spend time with their many uncles, aunts and a huge amount of cousins. Some years the kids accompanied their grandmother to a Christmas service at her traditional Baptist church, where they learn of the values in which their father was raised. Now that my babies are older, that part of the holiday season will be a much higher priority.
“A successful balance of holiday traditions makes you feel
complete, honored and united as a family.”
Making Room for New Traditions
Another lesson that I’ve learned in my quest to balance our holiday family traditions is to create a few that celebrate our core identity. Yes, my husband and I come from different cultures, but at the center of it all, we’re just a set of parents raising two kids we adore. Scheduling time to be together – just our family of four – and creating traditions that unify us, helps to establish a strong family bond during the exciting holiday season.
The people look different, the menus aren’t similar, even the languages my kids are surrounded by vary, but as the years go on, I’m learning one thing: a successful balance of holiday traditions is the one that makes you feel complete, honored and united.