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Old 06-09-2011, 09:41 AM   #11
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We have the same problem. As a kid I did what you wrote. One gift xmas eve, milk cookies, gifts and stockings xmas morning after santa came. My husbands family does xmas on xmas eve at midnight. I think it ruins the whole santa thing. Plus his family gets upset if were not there...so its like we don't get to do xmas with our kids. Either we have to do ours when we get back which is late xmas day or before we leave. Very hard. We still haven't come to a permenant xmas that includes everything its just not possible.

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Old 06-09-2011, 09:52 AM   #12
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Oh you know, you have a good point, I did not even touch on yet. His family wants us to drive acroos the country to their chrsitmas, and Dh wants to.

I am adamant as a family we have our own holiday traditions.

Had not even thought of that yet, crap.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:24 PM   #13
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

If it helps, I was your son, LOL! My mom is German and my dad American. I was born in the US but German was my first language.

We celebrated Advent and the Christchild came on Christmas Eve to leave the surprise presents after a special Christmas Eve dinner (US Southern style with grits, country ham, red eye gravy and green beans) and it was a BIG deal. Doors were locked to the living room and when a little bell rang, the doors would be unlocked, German Christmas music was playing and the candles on the tree were lit as were all of the other candles in the living room with no other lights on. Presents were opened (all presents for all of us including gifts to each other) and then a stocking was hung for Santa on the fireplace and it would be filled in the morning. Then we had our big German dinner on Christmas day (goose, red cabbage, knodeln (potato balls) and gravy). That's how my family incorporated both traditions.

With my kids, we do a variation of this where we light the candles on the tree after dinner on Christmas Eve and then we open gifts to each other. Surprise (ie. Santa) gifts are under the tree on Christmas morning and the stockings are filled. My mother still makes a goose every other year when we are at her house for Christmas!

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Old 06-10-2011, 09:43 PM   #14
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

I was going to ask if you are planning to stay in Germany or not. Because if so, then I might lean more in your DH's direction if all the kids open gifts xmas eve.

We do a mix, but we are not THAT different culture wise(Irish and American). The st. nick thing on the 6th funnily enough is DH's thing(american). I do more of the food thing, having certain foods and certain xmas music, tree stays up until little xmas.

The only thing I ever got upset about is his parents having a sack of toys that "santa" dropped off at their house. Eh no.....Santa only comes to one place IMO. That was in addition to gifts from them btw.


I wouldn't worry about explaining the gifts from one family and not another. My kids get gifts normally from both, but my sister is awesome with their bday gifts, wheras DH's are awful and barely do anything unless they have been invited to an actual party(and they are ODS godparents too). My kids have never even noticed that one aunt gives and the other and uncle do not. Plus I agree by the time they are old enough, you can explain tradition.

ODS is now 7 and fully gets the "In my country we do it this way....." that I spout off at least once a week. Even the 5 yr old understands that mama does things differently than "Americans".
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:48 AM   #15
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Thanks for all the great ideas. Yes we are planning to stay in Germany, which is probably why I am so dead set on the American way, being that I miss home. lol

I loved hearing about the other mixed cultures. I found fun ways to do most other holidays, none seemed to have such dramatic differences. We choose which holidays to celebrate as a family, and aside from the big ones that overlap, also chose a few German only and American only holidays where each parents can celebrate their tradition for that holiday
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:50 AM   #16
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

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Originally Posted by arihillfarm View Post
If it helps, I was your son, LOL! My mom is German and my dad American. I was born in the US but German was my first language.

We celebrated Advent and the Christchild came on Christmas Eve to leave the surprise presents after a special Christmas Eve dinner (US Southern style with grits, country ham, red eye gravy and green beans) and it was a BIG deal. Doors were locked to the living room and when a little bell rang, the doors would be unlocked, German Christmas music was playing and the candles on the tree were lit as were all of the other candles in the living room with no other lights on. Presents were opened (all presents for all of us including gifts to each other) and then a stocking was hung for Santa on the fireplace and it would be filled in the morning. Then we had our big German dinner on Christmas day (goose, red cabbage, knodeln (potato balls) and gravy). That's how my family incorporated both traditions.

With my kids, we do a variation of this where we light the candles on the tree after dinner on Christmas Eve and then we open gifts to each other. Surprise (ie. Santa) gifts are under the tree on Christmas morning and the stockings are filled. My mother still makes a goose every other year when we are at her house for Christmas!

-Astrid
Love it. I like the idea of keeping the stockings for Christmas morning.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:30 AM   #17
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

DH and I had very different ways of celebrating Christmas. We tried to do both every year, but that became too much for both of us. We finally decided that we each got to pick the one thing about our Christmas that was most important to us, and that would be something we always did, then the rest of the holiday we would make new traditions. DH chose having Christmas dinner with his family. I chose Christmas Eve- opening one gift before bed.

As for family gifts, I'm not sure what to tell you b/c I would do what you said you don't want to - simply tell the kids that in Germany family doesn't give gifts at Christmas. I think you have a perfect opportunity to teach your children about the differences in cultures around the world. You don't have to present one as better or worse, just be very matter of fact about it all.

Some of these things might change as your LOs get older. For a few years we did the going to family's houses, but it just got to be too much. We were spending hours in the car on Christmas day. I explained to DH that I wanted our kids to enjoy Christmas and not be rushed, and we changed things. Since he knew he would always have dinner with his family (his most important thing) and that I would never ask him to give that up, he was a bit flexible with everything else.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:55 AM   #18
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Re: Creative mamas, especialls those in international marriages, I need your help

Yeah I need to talk to dh about that. He usually goes for 5 days to his moms, other side of the country.

But our son was born before x mas too, and he needs his own birthday party and christmas traditions. If we coul drive hime it would not be so bad, I dunno how I will handle that one, maybe every other year with family and for a shorter time so ds does not miss his b day.
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:06 AM   #19
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Can you say the German grandparents don't give gifts because they see him all the time and can get him stuff yeastlike but since your parents live sofas away they can only send them for special days?

Good luck!

We lived in Germany for 3 years,loved it,and miss it so much.

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Old 06-11-2011, 05:07 AM   #20
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Not yeastlike-yearround

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