If you and your spouse practice two different faiths, you and your family may find the holiday season to be more difficult than other families. When two parents practice the same faith, it can often make the holiday season easier. But when one parent is Christian and the other is Jewish, it can present obstacles during the holidays, especially if you have kids.
Fortunately, there are steps that interfaith families can take to make sure everyone can enjoy the holidays following follow the faith of their choice.
Respect your spouse’s faith and talk openly about it.
Even though you and your spouse may not necessarily have the same belief system, it doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about your faiths and share the beliefs that you do have. This is especially important if you have children. Kids can often get caught up in the hoopla surrounding Hanukkah and Christmas and lose sight of what the holiday season is really all about. By speaking with your spouse and your kids about your specific faith, you can help them obtain a better understanding of it.
Plan for the holiday commitments of each spouse during the holidays.
You and your spouse will have different commitments during the holiday season as far as your faiths are concerned. The best way to avoid conflict is to plan for how you are going to honor your commitments and to lay out the expectations for them. Are you expecting your spouse to attend mass or go to the synagogue with you? If so, let them know this well ahead of time so that it doesn’t come as a surprise to them. Additionally, talk to your children about what role they will play in the celebration of the season.
Steer clear of turning the holiday season into a competition.
Unfortunately, there are some parents who will turn the holiday season into a competition and unknowingly force their children to choose sides when celebrating with one faith over another. Your kids should have a solid understanding of both of your faiths and respect them accordingly. Don’t put them into a position where they feel like they need to pick one of the faiths to celebrate. You and your family can create your own traditions that successfully weave both faiths into the same holiday season.
At Atlanta Jewish and Interfaith Weddings, we know all about helping interfaith couples. If you are currently planning on getting married and you and your spouse are of different faiths, call us at 404-790-8612 today to see how we can help. We can also assist you with baby blessings, Jewish funeral services, and more.