This year I have a list of traditions and activities I want to make that will help bring together the two cultures we have in our family: Venezuelan and American.
Since our son is 3 years old and we have a girl on the way, it is already proving to be fun to start these traditions through the holidays:
Christmas Books in Spanish and English
We have one that we read in both languages and has a small explanation of what happened in Christmas and why we celebrate it and how different cultures celebrate it. My son’s immersion in books is amazing and he wants it read 100 times, so this helps a lot! We plan to add many more to our library through the years.
Also, having conversations about what happens in Christmas and telling stories about what we used to do when we where young is priceless for our son; he loves this and the stories created are very special.
In Venezuela this is very big. It not only includes the main characters but also lots of little towns with cute houses, people, animals, little blinking lights, moss and real mountain backgrounds, too. Sometimes families dedicate a whole room for it at their homes.
We are not making a big scene but we have a little collection of several ones that I put out as decoration and Adrian knows that on Christmas Day baby Jesus will be born and he will be placed there.
We had a special day to decorate the house and this included decorating the tree, setting up the nativity scenes and some other ornaments around the house. He LOOVED this, of course.
Singing to Baby Jesus
Oh, music is sooo important as a holiday traditions! We sing Aguinaldos (as we call our folkloric Christmas carols) to Baby Jesus in front of the Nativity scene. I’m sure Adrian will love to learn some of these. And why not include some traditional Christmas Carols in English too? It will be fun!
Christmas Eve celebration
Celebrating Christmas Eve with a Venezuelan dinner and our best outfits will be one of our traditions. Luckily, we live in LA and there are some places where we can buy some Hallacas and the Pan de Jamón (Ham Bread) which is a big part of the traditional holiday meal and is hard to make, so with some other additions it will be great!
We will open our gifts that night-maybe not at midnight like we used to in Venezuela- but after dinner. A good fiesta and dancing to some Gaitas (Venezuelan Christmas music similar to Salsa) if we have guests would be in order as well!
Christmas Day celebration
We’ll also have a Christmas Day dinner celebration. WOW! We will get two parties! My in-laws live close by, which means we can celebrate with them too. We all pitch in for an American traditional dinner, listen to lots of Christmas carols, play some board games, watch a Christmas movie and open gifts from Santa. Which brings me to the last tradition:
Santa brings presents and Baby Jesus, too!
In Venezuela Baby Jesus brings presents to the kids on Christmas, usually he leaves them by the bed. Adrian will have some presents by his bed from Baby Jesus and some presents by the tree from Santa! I’m not sure if this will be confusing, but we’ll try and see how it goes.
New Year’s Eve celebration
The Holidays wouldn’t be complete without the proper New Year’s celebration. We would like to make it a tradition to have a big family party where all the family is invited, this means, not just an adult party but kids too, please. Kids can have fun together and adults can party as well. We’ll have plenty to eat too and maybe do all those fun traditions likr eating 12 grapes right when midnight strikes, kissing somebody, watching the ball drop on TV, going out the door with some luggage if you want to travel next year and many more that I can’t think of right now!
And this is really just the beginning of my list but it is the most important part of it. I realize that having two cultures in our family is so different than just doing one regular tradition and it’s fun! I hope our kids think the same thing!
What’s on your list of important holiday traditions?
Your Bicultural Holiday Traditions continues on Monday with a story from Silvia, Mamá Latina Tips, how she manages to capture the true meaning of giving and receiving at Christmastime. Make sure you’re subscribed to our feed either by RSS or email so you don’t miss a beat.