It’s a Wonderful Time of the Year
In 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
Even 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.
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.