Raising Your Kids with Two (or more) Religious Holidays
The holiday season is here. While it’s complicated enough to celebrate just one religious holiday, some families have ties to two! When bringing kids into the picture, many parents feel pressured to pick just one religion and raise their kids by that. Probably the biggest reason is to alleviate confusion.
It makes sense; especially if you have a two parent household where one is Catholic and the other is Jewish, for example. There are some common ideals that both religions share, but there are also many differences. As far as the holidays are concerned, you have Christmas celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th, and then Hanukkah commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by celebrating for eight days.
But by just picking one of those religions to practice, your children may be missing out on a rich experience of learning about and living differing religions. When done with a loving attitude, keeping two religions in the household can help your kids be more understanding of others, more knowledgeable about different cultures, and be open to learning about other religions as well.
It won’t be easy to do, but it can be a worthwhile experience. If you are planning on raising your kids with two or more religious holidays, here are a few tips:
- Be prepared for some judgment from friends and family. It’s not common for many families to celebrate two religious holidays simultaneously. Just be ready with a reply: “This is how we want to raise our kids. We’d love your support.”
- Alleviate confusion by teaching the religions to your kids all year. Perhaps pick days or times to discuss the basics. Attend religious ceremonies where possible, as participation in each will help solidify teachings in your kids’ minds.
- Discuss as a family how to approach the holidays. How will you decorate—will you have a tree and a menorah? How will you celebrate—will you have Christmas dinner separate from all other celebratory feasts, or will you serve at latkes at Christmas dinner?
In the end, as a family what’s important is keeping the traditions that are important to all of you alive throughout the years.
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