Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blending of Traditions

As I sit around my house and look at the Christmas decorations we have set out this year, it makes me think about all the expats I know who have a spouse/significant other from another nationality. 

It is because as I look at our Nisse Calendar Candle (DANISH) which is sitting next to our stockings (AMERICAN), I think about how many people tell me how sad that they get at this time of the year because they have "left all their home country's traditions behind" and are trying to adapt to the new country's traditions. 

And to that, I say "BALONEY".

Mads and I come from two different countries (which sometimes feels like two different worlds! LOL) that celebrate Christmas in two different ways. And our home reflects them BOTH. I brought all my Christmas stuff with me when I moved, and we have created an incredibly cozy holiday season the last 4 years with a blending of both cultures.  We have also promised our families that we will "hold Christmas" with them every other year so that way everyone can plan accordingly and no one misses out all the time... It takes saving up our money to make sure that we can be in the US every other Christmas, but it is a choice we make because it is important to us and to them. 

This may sound too organized for your taste, but I think it is CRITICAL that when couples come from two different nationalities,  they MUST create their own family traditions together and those traditions MUST include something from both of their worlds.....   Take the best from both worlds, add your own special twist to them and make new traditions. Then instead of getting sad about the holiday season rolling around, you get excited about unpacking the things that you have gathered TOGETHER....  It really is a GREAT way to usher in the season! 


Unknown said...

Hans and I are working to incorporate both family traditions into our Christmas. At first he thought I had lost my mind when I wanted to decorate the tree the way an American would, with ribbons, picks, and tons of lights. Now, he likes the tree, even though I think it needs more lights. The stockings are hung, some of the presents are wrapped, but I am lacking some nisse and even a Nisse Calendar Candle!

Unknown said...

Too right, Kelli!

Having the presence of both family traditions is important for any couple/family, I think! Even more so when you throw in an odd ocean between the two families!

We're leaving next week for Christmas in Seattle, and I think we'll start the every-other-year tradition too. It's important to have that special time with your family around the Holidays...I'm so excited to see mine! :D

Jono said...

My father brought some of the traditions from "the old country" to the new one and they blended quite well. It made for a terrific Christmas!

Sonia Marsh / Gutsy Living said...

I agree Kelli, however, let me point out that my American kids thought it silly to dance around the tree, and without other Danish relatives here, I gave up as they grew older. My other problem is my husband likes the "fake" tree, and I love the real one. So when we moved to Belize and sold all our decorations, I gave into the "fake" tree. I am longing for a Christmas in Denmark where food, people and coziness mean so much mo9re. I think a lot has to do with me not being around a crowd that enjoys the Danish hygge and also the weather in CA, is not Christmas-like. I love the way you enjoy both countries.

Anonymous said...

So right! Traditions are made to be broken, re-made and jazzed up!