Holidays as a Multicultural Family

by Courtney El-Ghoul

Hey guys! It’s me again, coming in fresh out of a game of calendar Jenga! So, as I am sitting here totally stressing out over planning our November & December events… I am also feeling beyond grateful. Not only do I get to live in such a diverse area, but I also get to be a part of and raise my girls in a multicultural family. 

Holiday Season Festivities

During the holiday season, at the end of November, Nahla & Ava’s school hosts an International Feast that I am helping organize this year. The school actually holds a full International week, including a “Parade of Nations,” it’s really such a special week for all the kids in the school. It’s an opportunity for the children to celebrate their own ethnic & cultural diversity and that of their peers. Each of the kids either picks a country from their heritage, a country they have visited, or one they are planning to visit. Then they help to teach their peers and represent the country throughout all of International Week. Last year we did Palestine, which is from their immediate heritage. This year, we are doing Morocco. Their cousins are Moroccan, and every year when come back from visiting Morocco they bring us the most beautiful dresses. The girls love the tradition of getting the dresses and are very excited to have an opportunity to wear them, and show their friends. Now, I just need to get busy figuring out what Moroccan cuisine I will be bringing to the feast. Maybe, if I am lucky, I can talk my sister-in-law into making something… Fingers Crossed!

2018 International Day representing Palestine
International Feast at school

Celebrating MultiCultural Holidays

Because we are a multicultural family, we have a lot of holidays. Like, a lot. Hence, all of the event juggling and calendar stress! Khalil grew up in a Muslim household, and I was raised in a Christian one. We met in college, and I will never forget the first time he came home with me for Christmas. Haha. He was overwhelmed, to say the least. My family goes all out, it’s like the North Pole just threw up all over my mom’s house. But, he embraced it with open arms- I was amazed! Now, years worth of holidays, and some twins later –  we are a family that has a Christmas tree in every room… how things change. We also celebrate Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, and Thanksgiving… all with Khalil’s side of the family. The calendar is insane, but ultimately I think it is totally worth it. It is so wonderful that neither our girls, nor us, have ever had to choose between one side or the other. When Khalil and I got married and were discussing children we agreed that we didn’t want to say what religion was right or wrong. We just want our girls to be open-minded and kind human beings – they can decide on religion if that suits them. We chose, as a family, to celebrate all the holidays from both of our cultures. It’s been really cool over the years to see how Khalil and I have both changed and embraced and enjoyed each other’s different backgrounds. It has been one of the most beautiful evolutions I’ve ever experienced, and I am really proud of how it has helped shape our girls so far.  

Celebrating Eid with their cousins
Christmas Eve. We do pajamas as a family:)

Next stop- Annual Holiday party- I will do a post on prepping for this one as well. 

What about you guys? How do you celebrate the Holidays?

If you are a multicultural family, how does it work for you guys? 

XO

Courtney

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