How 6 People Negotiate Holiday Traditions With Partners Of Different Backgrounds
The amount of negotiation that has to be done in a relationship is admirable, and that is probably doubly true during the holiday season — AKA the most stressful time of year. This is especially the case if you come from any kind of majorly different cultural or religious background, and need to figure out how to blend different traditions with your partner in a way that feels best to you both. But that's also one of the beautiful things about melding a life with someone — it opens you up and changes you. Hopefully for the better, and in a way that makes your world grow towards new, exciting adventures.
As Megan, 36, shares with Bustle, she learned that with partners in the past when you celebrate the holidays alike already — in similar ways on the same days — it’s more of a negotiation of whose family to go to than if you have different traditions.
"It's also simply more fun to do something different," Megan says. "For me, anyway."
Below, take a look at the way people and their partners find ways to mix their traditions together and find ways to celebrate the holidays on terms they define with one another.
1. Megan, 36
"I'm in a relationship with someone who is Jewish and I am Unitarian, and we've found it to be great because all our holidays (for the most part) never coincide. It makes it much easier in a lot of ways. We celebrate in pretty traditional ways, and we've been able to keep that alive with each other."
2. Michaela, 38
"The beauty of blending our Jewish and Irish Catholic backgrounds is that there’s much in common. Food. Humor. Family. Eating. Food. Guilt. Talking about food...while eating. When it comes to traditions they have different names and stories but they’re all about celebrating family, love, ancestors and food. So hers are mine and mine are hers."
3. Carissa, 29
"We just have super different types of families in so many ways. Like, honestly, even from a class standpoint. His family is a not as wealthy as mine is, they are from a different country, they observe spiritually in a different way. But we make it work. It used to stress us out, and now we just host events and holidays at our house and are kinda like 'make it work with each other, people.'"
4. Elia, 40
"I was raised half Jewish and half Christian, and my wife is Jewish. During the Jewish hols we go to temple with her family in Philly, then head to Wales to see mine for Christmas, where we make sure to attend midnight mass. We're not religious, but we get a lot out of each service."
5. Matt, 31
"I'm not big on holidays and neither is my partner, but we come from very different backgrounds and do celebrate some. I will say that getting to go to Khmer New Year at the Cambodian Temple in Dallas every year with my partner has helped me understand what I want from a holiday. Like they just dance and drink — it's very casual and fun vs. Jewish or white bourgeois culture I've experience as usually more formal, or takes itself more seriously in a certain way."
6. Diana, 68
"Neither of us are seriously religious but we both enjoy each other’s family traditions. For me, the best part of this is the foods we associate with our respective holidays. We both love to cook and sharing special holiday meals and delicacies is a treat. Music also plays a role and with so much available online, it’s easy to provide festive and meaningful background tunes. With twice as many holidays, we have twice the fun!"
Hopefully you can be inspired to enjoy each other's traditions, and if it feels stressful, seeking out guidance from people who have done it before might be a great place to start.