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Incorporating Your Child’s Birth Culture in Your Holiday Traditions

It’s the best time of the year — the holidays! We can’t wait to eat some delicious food with some of our favorite people. If your family has been touched by adoption, this means gathering all members of the adoption triad — adoptive and birth family, and the adoptee, of course!
We know that adoptive families come from all walks of life, so if you’ve completed an international or transracial adoption, you might be wondering how you can include your child’s birth culture into your holiday traditions. This year, we’d like to share some fun ways that you can help your child connect and honor their heritage during the holiday season.

Common Holidays from Around the World

Christmas isn’t the only big event to look forward to this season. Here is a brief description of a few holidays that are celebrated in different parts of the world and ways that you can incorporate them into your family traditions.
 Winter Solstice: The Winter Solstice is celebrated all over the world and is one of the most important holidays in Chinese and East Asian culture. In the northern hemisphere, it’s celebrated on Dec. 21. Many families in China and Taiwan will celebrate with a special meal to honor the holiday. Traditionally, families will get together to make dumplings, but there a few other delicious options that you could make.
Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year for Chinese families. Next year, it will take place on Jan. 25, 2020! The main activities include preparing a celebration feast, putting up decorations, setting off fireworks and giving red envelopes to children with money inside. Learn about other traditions here.
Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is a week‐long celebration held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.This holiday honors African‐American heritage and culture. Families can celebrate in their own way, but the holiday typically includes wearing traditional African clothing, telling stories, exchanging gifts and more.
Hanukkah: There are a quite a few countries that celebrate this holiday from Dec. 22 to Dec. 30. Depending on where your child is from, there are different ways that you can make it your own. Don’t miss out! Dreidels aren’t always necessary, but there are some delicious recipes that you can make with your family.

5 Ways that You Can Celebrate with Your Child

Here are a few more ways that you can celebrate with your family and community during the holidays. Even though it’s a busy season, we know you can find the time to incorporate your child’s birth culture and adoption into your everyday holiday traditions.
Check out our suggestions below:

  • Cook a traditional dish: Cooking is a great way to spend some quality time with family, and good food is one of the best parts about the holidays! If there’s a meal that you’ve always wanted to make from your child’s birth country, why not try it out today?
  • Plan a get‐together: If you know other adoptive families in the area who have adopted from the same country or have the same heritage, plan a get‐together! This is a great chance for your child to get to know other kids who look like them and want to celebrate together.
  • Read books or watch movies: While starting a conversation about your child’s heritage is important, that’s just the first step. When it’s too cold to go outside, spend some time watching movies or reading books that include your child’s culture. This is a great way for them to see themselves reflected in media, and you’ll get to spend some more time together.
  • Attend a cultural festival: If you’d like to get more involved, take a look around your neighborhood for fun winter events. If you live close to other adoptive families, you can even meet up together as a group. You might also think about planning an event of your own to celebrate the season.
  • Display holiday items from their culture around the house: If you love to decorate for the holidays, why not display some items from your child’s birth culture? This is a great way to make them feel included and to celebrate their heritage.

Support Starts at Home

Maintaining a cultural connection is the key for your child’s sense of self and well‐being. Learning about their cultural roots is also great for their confidence.
Don’t forget that the holidays aren’t the only time that you can celebrate and honor your child’s birth culture. You should also be looking for ways to incorporate their traditions into your life all year‐round.
There are plenty of fun, simple ways that you can add their traditions into your daily routine. Remember to stay up to date on current events so that you can answer any questions your child might have. You can also keep an eye out for books and movies that feature characters that your child can identify with.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to honor your child’s cultural background during the holidays and the rest of the year, reach out to your adoption professional.
How Will You Celebrate This Year?
No matter how you choose to celebrate, the holidays are about one thing: family. Gather yours and plan a celebration no one will ever forget.
If you have any holiday traditions that we didn’t get a chance to cover, we’d love to hear them! Let us know how you plan to make this season special in the comments. Happy holidays!