The smell of freshly baked biscuits and hot chocolate, opening the doors of my advent calendar and lighting a candle each Sunday of the advent: I have so many fond memories of Christmas and now that our first Christmas as a family is not that far away anymore, I am getting really excited about sharing all these memories with Amy. However, so is Amy’s daddy and that is where our little dilemma starts: We have both grown up in different countries and celebrate Christmas in different ways. So how will we celebrate Christmas without leaving one of our cultures out?
Daddy was born and raised in England, whereas I was born in Germany and lived there until just three years ago. You would think with both countries being in Europe, there wouldn’t be that much of a difference in our traditions, but really: there is. The main difference is that in Germany we open our presents on the night of Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. We all have a lovely Christmas dinner and then a friend or relative will come to your house dressed up as Father Christmas to give you your presents in exchange for a little poem or song. I admit, there are photos of me hiding behind my mum, because there were times when I found Santa slightly scary, but once I got older, I really enjoyed meeting the man that had apparently been watching my behaviour like a hawk. It gave Christmas Eve that special feeling. When would Santa come? Was I a good girl and will he like my song?
Amy’s daddy is sure he felt the same surprise and excitement when he woke up to a massive stocking hanging off his bed on Christmas day and dozens of presents laying around the Christmas tree, but for me that just isn’t how I know it. Christmas is Christmas when you hear Santa’s knocking on the door and his deep voice greeting you with a Ho, Ho, Ho”. So what will we do?
In the first one or two years, Amy will obviously be too young to take in all the hustle and bustle around the Christmas tree, but we are determined to make her Christmases as special as the ones we experienced when we were children – until then we will have plenty of time to decide when Amy will open her presents and if she will actually get to meet Santa. I am sure there will be endless discussions, because both Amy’s daddy and I are creatures of habit and we both have the most magical memories that we also want to create for Amy, but in the end that’s not everything that counts. Amy will grow up knowing that things are different from culture to culture, which will hopefully result in her learning to be a tolerant young girl, but most of all she will remember that Christmas is a time that both of these cultures come together to sing, play and laugh.
How do you celebrate Christmas? Do you have favourite traditions or do you have to find a compromise between two cultures? I’d love to hear how your Christmas celebrations look like!
This post was first pulished as a guest post for the December issue of Britax magazine. To read the other articles, visit Britax’s Facebook Page and click on Britax magazine.