Photo via: Wikimedia Commons
As depicted in many classic Christmas movies, families coming together to celebrate Christmas Eve or Christmas is a common occurrence, but it’s one I have not experienced.
Roughly 20 years ago, my parents came to the United States from Bosnia. They left their family behind and were introduced to a new culture. They were immersed into the grandeur of Christmas their first year here. Once I was born, they started celebrating the holiday, but our celebrations differ from typical ones.
One of the biggest differences is that we do not have a large family gathering. Many families across the country have a Christmas dinner with relatives or have large family gatherings on the holiday. Because the rest of my family lives overseas and comes from a culture that does not celebrate Christmas, our celebrations consist of the five of us.
Though many might think it’s disappointing to not have grandma’s cookies or cousins over to watch Christmas movies, we manage to have a fun and fulfilling holiday without them. We still bake cookies, decorate, and – my personal favorite – put up the tree. The staple traditions of Christmas are things we still do.
Besides gift giving and Santa Claus, religion is closely tied to the celebration of Christmas, with going to sermons and church being popular things many do. Personally, we do not focus on the religious aspects of Christmas and instead focus on the other things surrounding the holiday, like gingerbread houses, hot cocoa, and presents. My parents come from a place where Christianity is not the prominent religion, which influences our celebration.
Overall, the lack of certain supposed Christmas celebration staples might make people think our holiday season isn’t enjoyable. But my family’s slightly off-beat way of celebrating Christmas is something I wouldn’t change for the world.