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Adopted Christmas Traditions: Embracing the Old and the New

December 23, 2014

Christmas is a time of worship, celebration, and traditions. Decorating the tree, opening presents, eating tons of food, every family has traditions during the holidays. Adoptive families, especially those who have adopted older children internationally, face unique decisions when it comes to holiday traditions. Do you include traditions familiar to them or unique to their country? Do you continue with your family traditions? Or do you start new traditions all together?


One New Beginnings mom who brought home her two Polish sons this time last year, said, “We want to embrace our sons’ Polish heritage as well as teaching them our heritage and creating new family traditions that we can share.”


For any family, traditions are all about balance. If you’re struggling to find that balance, we have a few tips to help.


-Embrace old traditions…or not: Not every child has fond memories of his/her life before becoming a part of their forever family. If your children are older, talk to them about what traditions they celebrated and how they feel about those traditions. Do a little research about holiday traditions in your child’s birth country. The holidays present a great opportunity to teach your child about the country where they were born. For instance, in Poland Santa Claus visits on December 6 instead of Christmas. With your child’s memories and past in mind, pick one or two traditions from their birth country and incorporate them into your new family traditions. It is a beautiful way to embrace their heritage and for them to share it with you.


-Teach them your traditions: Your children will want to know what you did as a child during Christmas. Did you wake up every Christmas morning to blueberry french toast and hot cocoa? Show them a few of the traditions from your past, but don’t alienate your kids with them. Pick a few just as you did from their Christmas past.


-Create new traditions: Whether you lounge around all day in pajamas watching Christmas movies or go ice skating as a family, create new traditions that your kids will love. Having something special for just your family will bring you closer, and for children who may find themselves a little homesick for their birth country new traditions can make the day a little easier to manage.


What holiday traditions does your family cherish? Have you incorporated any traditions from your child’s birth country? Leave us a note in the comments section! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!