Celebrating the Holidays as an Interfaith Family

Celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan or Kwanzaa is easy when the entire household is of the same faith. However, in today?s melting pot of a world, many times married couples do not share the same religious backgrounds, with Jews, Christians, Muslims and Buddhists peacefully co-existing as partners. This scenario oftentimes works fine when it?s just the couple involved — each spouse does his or her own thing. But when a child is introduced into the family, there may be indecision over what is the right way to celebrate the holidays.

There are mixed viewpoints from experts on the topic of the holidays in an interfaith family. Where most do agree is that open communication and compromise are the two most important components of making it work. Religious beliefs are not to be taken lightly, and most people have strong feelings about how they celebrate their faith.

Many families choose to embrace the traditions of both religions. Therefore, they introduce the children to the mystery of the menorah and the joy of the Christmas tree. While one parent may not have much interest in the other?s religious beliefs, for the sake of the children both should take an active role in highlighting the meaning behind these important traditions.

Other families choose to adopt solidarity to one religion. Perhaps the decision is easy since they have already decided to raise the children in a particular faith. Many times parents raise the children in the mother?s faith because they are receiving the father?s last name, but this isn?t always the case. Even if one religion is celebrated in the home, the child should be familiar with his other parent?s beliefs so that things will not come as a surprise when visiting grandparents or other relatives of that particular faith.

There is no one best answer that fits all families and there are no rules set in stone. It is a decision that only the family must make, speaking openly on the topic and finding an option that is agreed upon by all.