Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Traditions

It’s a Wonderful Time of the Year

IMG_3246In our family we really try not to start Christmas preparation before Thanksgiving, but now it’s officially a Christmas time for us! I am joining with fantastic bloggers from Inspired Bloggers Network to share Christmas traditions. I am sharing a secular point of view for Christmas – both my husband and I consider ourselves agnostics. I was raised in a completely non-religious household while he was raised in moderately Lutheran German family and gave up finding the church of his liking in the United States before we even met. So how does our Russian-German family celebrates a secular Christmas in the United States?

Blending and Inventing Traditions


It’s interesting how many of German and Russian traditions are the same and probably come from the same source of pagan celebrations that were later modified by Christian priests. We have everything you would expect – a Christmas tree, Christmas decorations everywhere, German Christmas carousel, and three Advent calendars (don’t ask!). We do not have a Christmas manger set up, and we gave up on Santa last year. We also have some traditions that are special to our family – like finding a Christmas Lego set, driving to see Christmas lights, and mama-daughter theater outing for The Nutcracker ballet.

A Season of Giving


We contribute to causes we care about throughout the year, but November and December are certainly focus months for many activities related to giving. It’s giving thanks to people who affect our lives, making homemade gifts, donating books, toys, clothes, food, and money to charities who need it most. It’s also time for us to give more time to each other – we always try to take time off around the holidays and play, read, and go places together.

Reading Christmas Books

Advent StorybookEven though we are raising our daughter to be an agnostic like us, we read both religious and non-religious books at this time of the year, since we believe that our daughter should make up her own mind about what she wants to believe. Smarty is always looking forward to reading a religious Advent Storybook, and I am wondering what kind of questions she will be asking this year. We are also reading a variety of other Christmas books – we own a dozen or so, and we always try to find new favorites each year.

Spending Time with Friends and Family


The best part of Christmas for us is really slowing down and focusing on our family and friends. Every year we get our friends together for a German tradition of Feuerzangenbowle – basically, it’s when a big cone of rum-soaked sugar is burned over a pot full of mulled wine. I am looking forward to Christmas baking, to times with friends and to quiet time at home doing what we love to do best – playing board games, building with Legos and reading together.

Your Turn:

Please visit Inspired Blogger Network Holiday Traditions page and link up your own posts with Christmas traditions. Or just tell me in the comments on how you celebrate Christmas in your family.


Christy Killoran said...

It all sounds great to me! I love the idea of burning that sugar cone- sounds interesting.

Collin and Reagan are still going strong regarding Santa.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I don't think I've heard of a Feuerangenbowle before - it sounds like a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

I really like the way that you talk about blending and inventing traditions. As my wife and I are vegetarian, I guess we play about with traditions when it comes to food. Last year, we made a spicy nut roast with tomato gravy that we served with a sprout and chilli stir fry and roast potatoes. I think this sort of freedom is what makes Christmas fun.

Marya Mesa said...

I have Russian/German heritage too though I don't know much about Russian traditions. I've only gotten as far as finding some lebkuchen and making sauerbraten on Christmas Eve!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

The photo of the Feuerzangenbowle looks so neat! It sounds like you have a lovely Christmas in your home!

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Mummy) said...

I've never heard of a Feuerzangenbowle, wow! I think it's so important to start family traditions. We love looking at Christmas Lights too, on christmas Eve.

Ticia said...

I'm trying to think what burning a sugar cone would smell like.....

Princess and I are going to the Nutcracker LIVE for the first time this year, Jeff got a good deal on tickets through his work, and I can't wait to go with her!