Like most families these days, ours is a mix of backgrounds, nationalities and faiths. My husband and I do not share the same faith. A sister-in-law and an uncle are another faith. Our traditions are slightly different, too, partly due to the fact that our respective faiths bring along their own traditions.
My family is Greek Orthodox and my husband’s is Jewish (that made for some interesting discussions with our parents when we were dating). Neither of us converted and we made the decision to raise our children one faith but observing both sides when it came to holidays. Our Christmas tree stands proudly alongside our Menorah. A Kwanzaa Kinara will be lit this year, too. We wanted our children to understand that the world is not black and white, nor does it have to be. Other family members are Catholic and we have friends who are Protestant, Lutheran, Buddhist, agnostic and atheists. We welcome everyone and are eager to learn about their customs, traditions and beliefs.
We’ve developed our own family traditions. We try to find holiday cards that incorporate both of our family’s faiths. Now that I work directly with artisans in South Africa to design and produce our line of Little Works greeting cards, we’re already working on designs that celebrate more than just Christmas for next year’s collection.
I asked some of my South African artisans how they celebrate the holidays and much of it is the same as in the United States with Christmas being the main focus for many holiday decorations. The biggest difference is, of course, that the country celebrates the season in the height of summer. While most of us in the United States curl up in our warm sweaters and hot cocoa, South Africans head to the beaches, the rivers and shaded mountain slopes and often dine outside. Kids have summer holidays and camping is common. South Africans use pine branches for home decorations and children hang their stockings in the hopes that Father Christmas brings his presents on Christmas Eve.
Do you have an interesting holiday tradition? I’d love to hear about it!
Regardless of one’s faiths, beliefs (or non-beliefs), the holidays are meant to be with friends and family. And that’s a global tradition we can all share.
-Megy Karydes, Founder