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Old 06-09-2011, 05:12 AM   #1
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Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

This year will be DS's first big Christmas. I am American and his dad German. We have 2 very different Christmas traditions, some blend some completely different. I need ideas on how to mix it

So here is my family traditions:
1. Open one gift on Christmas eve
2. Leave out milk and cookies
3. Open gifts and stockings Christmas Morning from family and santa
4. Big dinner Christmas day

German:
1. December 6th the kids put out a shoe and st nick fills it with goodies
2. 4 days of Christmas 24-27th all with traditions and meals
3. Christmas eve the Christmas man comes while everyone is at church and leaves gifts, kids do not get gifts from family members, those are the Santa gifts

My Ideas:
1. Do both the shoe and stocking, leave a not from st nick saying since he was such a good boy this year he will get a second visit
2. Celebrate all 4 days of meals with Christmas day being the US style meal
3. Milk and cookies no issue

My Issues:
1. Santa- What do you do when they come at 2 different dates.
2. Opening gifts- DH is set on x mas eve. me with one gift x mas eve and all christmas morning
3. Gifts from family. How do you explain why one set of family gives gifts but the other not to a child.

We plan gift wise to do pretty simple gifts. Nothing overboard. One gift from us to each other and one gift from santa to each of us (baby, mommy, daddy), ok maybe a few more for baby lets me honest lol. I suppose that the family members gifts could just be deemed Santa gifts, since they are likely to go overboard more so then us. But my parents are really excited he know gifts come from them since they live so far away. DH'S famly do not want to loose their santa role. And 2 santa times, oh my.

We could also alternate american and germany yearly, but I still have the family gifting issue. Maybe they would agree on the american years to have it be family gifts and on the german year my family consider it santa gifts. But will that confuse a kid.


Any ideas would be awesome. I really want to find a way to mix both traditions, where no family members feel their traditions are being left out.

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Last edited by 2+2macht4; 06-09-2011 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:26 AM   #2
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

IDK, my DH is from Korea, and we really don't have such distinct differences, so take it w/a grain of salt.
I'm not sure how I'd explain the different differences between "Santa and St. Nick, what are they? If there are? IF there's even a slight difference, I'd just go with those; or honestly stick with one. Maybe St. Nick, since that's important to DH. It's basically the same, KWIM? So a little compromise wouldn't hurt. You can always say his big present is from St. Nick as well; but of course, that's not the tradition, and he could figure this out earlier.
And We've actually done ours on Christmas Eve, even though we both used to open them on Christmas. We're at church all morning, (DH is a Youth Pastor) So it's nice for DS to be able to to take the time to open them and play a little. It wasn't a big deal at all for us to make the decision to change when we opened them. Even if we weren't at church in the morning. If it's absolutely huge to you, tell DH you'll do only St. Nick, but that means that he opens his presents on Christmas day.

At this point, your DS is too young to understand that he's only getting gifts from one side of the family. And even when he's older, it might not bother him/he might not even ask. You come to understand differences between your families. But if he does, just tell him the truth. It's not like they're being "mean", it's a cultural difference.
Try to fidn a book that would help explain a bit:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re.../dp/0844221104

Apparently~ making Gingerbread houses is a big thing; maybe he can make one with his german grandparents as a tradition?
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:26 AM   #3
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

We do St. Nick and Santa. It's never been an issue. Actually we leave out stockings on this day. It's nice because then Christmas gets "split up" and it's great for the kids. Two different dates has not been an issue because St. Nick and Santa are different. Our church has St. Nick visit and he is obviously very different from Santa. The girls have never questioned it. They think that they are cousins! LOL. I think that you should have Santa come on Christmas eve if that's the way they typically celebrate in Germany. That will avoid confusion when your son is in school. Milk and cookies not an issue of course. Why don't you try to come up with your own traditions? It doesn't have to be yours or his, just make new ones! That's half the fun.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:28 AM   #4
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Sorry that was confusing:

Germany have 2:
St. Nikolous (sic) a historic figure

and Weinnachtsmann (our santa claus) but he comes christmas eve lol
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:30 AM   #5
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Well another possibility, compromise. Santa comes Christmas even. Christmas eve we get those gifts and then Christmas day family gifts. But then the whole Christmas morning under the tree and excitement is gone And I am still left with the family gift issues.

Ugh. I know I am over complicating this. But I am stuck creativity wise.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:55 AM   #6
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

DH had the same problem whne we got married and had kids... I always followed Christmas as in one gift on Eve, stockings and presents under the tree on Day and a big family meal later on the Day. DHs mom's family is Austrian and the only celebrate Eve. For many years (before we put the kibbosh on it because of the rediculous time frame that NO one would compromise on) we would drive to MILs around 5, eat schnizel, rice peas, cucumber salad (traditional meal) around 7, open gifts after that (usually like 8 or shortly after), THEN we had to drive to her borthers house for dessert and more family and gifts...we werent getting home until midnight!!!! The kids were crabby all day on Christmas Day and we were the only ones trying to help them make it though the evening the night before. MIL was mad when we told her we would not be going to her borthers anymore, very mad, but we havent in four years and now live out of state so its not an option.

We will only celebrate Day while we live here, DH doesnt care to do Eve since he doesnt really identify with any of the traditions he had growing up so fortuantely its become a non-issue. I feel for ya though...its hard to mesh these sorts of things. Hope you can work it out!!
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:30 AM   #7
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

I know American families that are totally American and do all their gifts on Christmas Eve. I would do the shoe, do the Santa gifts on Christmas Eve, then wake up to the stocking and family gifts.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:36 AM   #8
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Not a bad idea, but how to I handle the gift from family members situation.

German family gifts traditionally equal santa

My family wants the kid to know the gifts came from them.

I do not want to rob either side of their wishes, yet I also do not want to try and explain to a kid why american grandma gives gifts and german doesn't kwim? Not that the whole spirit of christmas is about gifts only, but I think it is fair to assume kids notice things like that.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #9
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

I don't think the kids care that much and if and when they eventually ask (around 8 or so) they will be old enough to understand that things are done differently in different countries. I wouldn't worry about it.
In Germany, family doesn't give gifts on xmas - just Santa. In the US, families like to give gifts.
My kids get hanukah and xmas gifts and it's never been an issue, all they really care about it that they get gifts, greedy little things!
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

When we lived in Germany, my family did St. Nick gifts on the 6th, and then we did Christmas on Christmas Eve. Even though that isn't what we did when we lived in Canada (until I was 6), I didn't find it weird or strange at all, it was fun!

As to who the gifts were from, we always had both Santa gifts and family gifts on Christmas Eve. They all got put out while we were at church. I don't see that it would be a big deal if you had gifts labeled as being from your parents out in addition to the Santa stuff.
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