Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I was raised non-religious. We didn’t celebrate Christmas back home in the Soviet Union. We celebrated New Year the same way Christmas is celebrated here. There was a New Year tree, a family gathering and Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost). My husband was raised a German Lutheran, but he officially left the church long before we met. I wouldn’t call us atheists. We simply don’t believe that we need “a third party provider” in our relationship between us and God, and there is no church that represents Him accurately. Anyway, we don’t celebrate Christmas as birth of Christ. We celebrate it as it was way back when – a Pagan holiday of nature rebirth and a start of a new year. So what exactly will we do in December?

  • We will put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house.
  • We will celebrate my birthday in early December with our friends.
  • We will go to a dessert party that our neighbors host each year.
  • We will throw a Weihnachtsmarkt party – we host it outside and invite everyone we know. There will be hot wine and German sausages galore.
  • We will have Advent calendar – we put sweets and small toys in ours.
  • Every Sunday we will unwrap and read a new Christmas book with our daughter.
  • We will watch classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas many times with her.
  • We will do many seasonal crafts (I hope)
  • We will listen to Christmas music all day and watch our favorite Christmas movies in the evening after Anna goes to sleep. We have quite a collection to choose from.
  • We will give food to Second Harvest and donate toys, books and clothes.
  • We will have Feuerzangenbowle – another German tradition. And we will offer our guestroom to our friends who want to enjoy it fully :)
  • We will celebrate Hanukkah too – with lights and books, latkes and crafts.
  • We will talk to our families a lot. They will not be here for Christmas, but we will be thinking about them.
  • On Christmas Eve our closest friends will come to our house, and we will exchange presents. We will enjoy Anna’s excitement on Christmas morning when she opens hers.
  • I will have a holiday shutdown at work – yay! We will not travel anywhere. Instead we will take time to relax and enjoy this special time of the year.
    Happy holidays, everyone!
I am adding this link to Advent Roundup at Adventures of Bear.


Kim said...

Sounds lovely! I especially like the new books on Sundays, the giving to others in need, and the many parties with loved ones. Enjoy!

Annette said...

Thank you for sharing! It sounds like your December will be lovely and sweet, filled with traditions of your own and friends!

I'm curious how you grow in knowledge of God (if you desire to and since you speak of a relationship, it sounds like you do). Do you read the Bible? Though churches certainly don't agree on how the Bible represents God on all accounts, many agree on key concepts. I find that it's important for me to know what the Bible says so I can compare what our church says to it. I hope that makes sense!

Thank you for sharing your family's traditions. It sounds like lots of fun!

Annette said...

Oops! I forgot to say Happy Thanksgiving!

Michelle said...

Well, I'm sure you already know that we believe in God and His Son as our Savior, but we don't go to church either ~ and we don't celebrate Christmas at all. You are right ~ it is a pagan holiday and not the birth of Christ. And you are right that we don't need a "third party provider" in a church, because as the Bible says there is only one way to the Father and that is through His Son and the Bible is our guide to following Him.

Blessings to you, Natalie. *Ü*

Adriana said...

I am always fascinated to learn about other culture's holiday traditions. (I especially like the "Feuerzangenbowle" My husband would love to try that one! :) We also celebrate Christmas and Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes Magos) on Jan. 6th.

MaryAnne said...

Sounds like a fun month! We are looking forward to quiet time at home for the second half of the month, and I definitely plan to visit a Weihnachtsmarkt in Austria during the first half!

Debbie said...

While we go to church, I do not feel church is the only way to go! Even now that we do go to church there are many things that we do not agree with, that is taught in our church. No church is perfect, like anything else.

That is not what I wanted to go off on here, but with that said, I must say I admire the traditions you have for your family. We have our traditions too, which I will be sharing on my blog. I agree with you I always feel that Christmas is a NEW beginning, probably more so then New Years. Christmas is a time to come together and celebrate with family and friends, no matter what you believe or don't believe!

Boy how I would love to take you up on your guestroom! :)

Autumn said...

Sounds like you have a lot of fun traditions! I love the one about opening up a new book every Sunday. December will be a very magical time for Anna throughout the years.

We're still coming up with traditions, so it's great to read about yours. One tradition we've done since Tommy was a newborn is drive around the neighborhoods a few nights a week with a thermos of hot chocolate (or cider) and look at the Christmas lights on the houses. It was a lot of fun last year with both boys sipping on their sippy cups of hot chocolate and pointing at all the lights, so I think it'll be even more fun this year.

Kylie said...

We too are a secular family and both my husband abd I were raised that way. We have always celebrated christmas in the more 'traiditional' way and I am trying to bring in more earth based activities and stories this year. (although they are pretty hard to find)

Thank you for sharing.

The Fifth Street Mama said...

Very interesting. Please link this up with 'Tis The Season Thursday at my blog the Fifth Street palace. It is definitely fun to read about your unique to North America traditions.

Ticia said...

The Feurg..... party sounds really fun (I'd try and spell that but all my cold medicines have me barely thinking).
I can't wait to hear more, and I'm sure I'll read this post again when I'm not sleepy as all get out.

The girl who painted trees said...

Thanks for linking up. I visited a Weihnachtsmarktwhen I lived in Swizerland. It was fun. I loved reading about your traditions. A new book every Sunday is a great idea.

Julie said...

What a wonderful collection of traditions. It sounds like you'll have a great month of celebrations! In addition to our Christmas traditions, we're planning to do some Hanukkah crafts and celebrating this year as well, since C was so interested in it last year.

Ticia said...

Yeaaaaahhhhhh, I'm sorry about that first comment. I really shouldn't comment when on cold medication. I really don't make sense. Not that I do anyways.
So, as I was attmepting to say, the Weihnachtsmarkt party sounds super cool, I"ve often thought of doing something like that, but haven't yet.
I can't wait to see everything you post to go with this.

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I love your list of family traditions, how beautiful to be creating so many special memories for your child and representing both of your upbringings and beliefs as parents. Enjoy!

Christy said...

I missed this post last year. I enjoyed reading it. I just learned so much. I love posts like this.

We don't go to church either. My husband was raised Catholic and I was raised Protestant. We believe in God and read the Bible but don't think we need the church -- similar to what you said. Anyway, some people homeschool; we homechurch!