Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas in My Intercultural Family

Christmas India Intercultural Relationships

My fondest memories in life all center around Christmas. As a child it was a time of celebration and family and more food than we could eat. There was always laughter and joy and happiness and I loved spending the whole day getting ready for the nights festivities. In my childhood home there were a few Christmas traditions that were constant. My grandmother's ceramic Christmas tree and the hand-crafted snow couple she made in the 1950's were always there. Those were the things that really made Christmas special for me....and they still do.I still have the snow couple and they're a big part of my Christmas to this day.
Merry Christmas India Joint Family Relationships

My husband is Hindu. Christmas was not a holiday he celebrated before our marriage. I opened his heart and his mind to the beauty of this family celebration. We decorated our home in India with traditional American Christmas decorations like the ones in this post.

I feel fortunate to have been able to share my favorite holiday with both my American family and my Indian family. This is one holiday that is truly mine when it comes to my marriage. I like being able to share this part of my culture with my husband.

gori punjban Christmas India

Being Punjabi of course he took to the celebration aspect of Christmas quite quickly. He too loves the lights and the music and the family aspects of the holiday. This is hubby's chance to take par in my life and culture unlike any other time of year.

One decision I made early on in my relationship was not to Indianize my Christmas celebration. This may sound harsh to some of you since my husband is Indian and he is a huge part of my life. I don't change my ideals for Christmas because it wouldn't be the same. I wouldn't have those same happy memories without the comfort of tradition.

Christmas India Cross cultural marriage
My husband wouldn't Americanize his Diwali or Lohri. In fact he doesn't Americanize much in his life. This is one aspect of our lives I'm happy to say we both fully respect. I'm happy that he remains true to his Indian traditions in regards to holidays and he respects my remaining true to my cultural traditions for my holidays. It's one aspect of our marriage we both seem to have been able to adjust to flawlessly.

It's beautiful to be able to share some things without blending them. It allows us each to maintain our own identities yet still enjoy all the benefits of being cross cultural.

How do you celebrate holidays in your Intercultural family?

Read about how other pardesi's celebrate Christmas in their intercultural relationships:
My Masala Life: We Don't Eat Paneer on Christmas or Turkey on Diwali Things We Do Not Mix
Home Cyn Home: My Christmas Meaning
Attached Moms: My Christmas in India: Blended American Traditions, found


  1. We have deep respect for Jesus Christ and Christmas always had a festive feel to it with the winter chill and New Year round the corner. Since Hindus have so many festivals, we are always in festival mode and Christmas or Eid seemed like an extension of Diwali or Dusshera. There is also something else. There are similarities between Jesus Christ's birth and Krishna. Jesus was born in a barn and Krishna in a prison. Jesus was crucified and Krishna was shot by a hunter who mistook his legs jutting out of a bush for a deer. Violent deaths for divine beings.

    We had a person from church who used to come to our school, sit on a piano, and sing Christmas carols. That is how we learnt "Jingle Bells". Who does not love Santa Claus and Jingle Bells. Christmas tree, bells, lighting and the story of Jesus. We all knew it by heart. We felt a deep connect to the festival. Although I always felt that there was lot of unnecessary hype and hoopla around it.

    However, for some strange reason, Diwali and Holi were not celebrated in a big way. There was no lighting of lamps or rangoli in Diwali. There were not elaborate arrangements made for the festival. The school perhaps thought that there is nothing to learn about these festivals anyway since we are all celebrating it at home. We were also told to speak in English since it was an English medium school when we were being simultaneously taught that Hindi is our national language. We carried on talking in Hindi anyway. I felt that it was something to do with our colonial legacy. Now, I see Indian festivals being celebrated in schools in a big way. India has always been a land of contradictions.


  2. I love this article. My husband, also a punjabi, get very excited for the tree and the lights! I think that Christmas is his chance to feel very much connected to the traditions of the united States! Like he is just another guy at the office having his holiday fun as well. Otherwise I think he feel still quite alien here. Most of our indian friend celibrate christmas as well. Christmas is truly the melting pot holiday.

    1. My husband has started to fit in somewhat by making his own non-Indian friends but I also think he's in a place now where he's struggling to define himself. I know he still feels somewhat alien but having a lot of non-Indian friends has helped him with that. I think he struggles more with being in his 30's than anything else. It's a hard adjustment for our husbands sometimes.