Celebrating Christmas in an Interfaith Family


A common concern for couples (and families of said couples) who are considering entering a cross-cultural marriage is: which religion will you choose? Do you have to pick one religion? Do you have to convert to your spouse’s religion to make your marriage work? The short answer: no. It is possible to not only peacefully cohabitate in a two-religion household, but also to celebrate each other’s religious holidays with zest. Coming from a Hindu/Catholic home, I can attest that Christmas is one of our annual holidays that our multicultural family looks forward to – so much so, that it is celebrated for nearly the whole month of December. Mostly, we celebrate it in a general, non-denominational way that marks what the festival is all about: family, togetherness, and joy.

Here are some of our Christmas traditions:

1) Setting up the Christmas Tree

We love that time of year when we mark the upcoming Winter by setting up our Christmas tree. Every year, we purchase a new ornament to add to our collection and we hang it all together as a team. This is a particularly fun activity for kids. As soon as the Christmas tree goes up, it makes the house so joyful with all the twinkling lights. Those who enjoy decorating for Diwali will also enjoy setting up a Christmas tree.

2) Baking Christmas Cookies

With the cold weather outside, all we feel like doing is eating warm goodies and staying indoors! I started this tradition when my daughter was three, and we have kept doing it every year because it’s such a fun activity. We purchase Christmas themed cookie cutter shapes and bake cookies (gingerbread, or shortcake) and then we decorate them. This activity keeps the kids focused all afternoon, and plus – we have so many treats to eat for weeks! It’s also fun to give out these cookies as gifts. My mother-in-law, in particular, loves the baking we do in the month of December.

3) Seeing Christmas-themed events

Sometimes it’s the Santa parade, sometimes the Nutcracker, or a play….there are so many fun, live events to see in the month of December. There are also beautiful light shows on around the city that are wonderful to look at.

4) Watch Christmas movies

My personal favourite is Home Alone & Home Alone 2, which I love to show my kids. A lot of these movies are very entertaining and light-hearted – great for the whole family.

5) Read Christmas Stories

Reading is very important in our household, and with every season, I love to read themed books with the children. Some of my favourites are the classics The Grinch that Stole Christmas and The Night Before Christmas. We also read some religious books that talk all about why we celebrate Christmas and baby Jesus.

Are you in an interfaith family? How does your family celebrate Christmas?


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