This is second nature to me, and my family have been mixing Paganism with Christianity for a number of years and for all the holidays. But sometimes this season during December is the hardest for some families to successfully integrate. The following tips I'm going to give you will work for all the holidays (including the ones the rest of the year) and any number of combinations. Perhaps your family involves more than just two of the holidays. In my family and extended family there are 6 different religions and two primary holidays, my household celebrates both Christmas and Yule. How many religions make up your family? Which holidays do you celebrate? Leave me a comment!
1. Expand your celebrations. Start your festivities at the beginning of the earliest holiday and continue them throughout the season. We begin festivities today (Yule). And will stretch them out until New Years Eve. That's 10 days. If that's too many days shorten it. There's no rules here!
2. Incorporate your cultural heritage more. What countries did your family stem from? If you don't know, what did your grandparents do? My family (through some research and DNA profiles) came from Italy, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the US (as in native American). So we make food, eat food, gift food (come on none of you should be surprised with that!) Most of the dishes are culturally based, Swedish Julbrod, Norwegian Butter Cookies, Lasagna (handed down via friends of the family in Salida as we just recently found out we are Italian), Fry breads and wahobi (kinda like a fruit paste), and of course many many more.
3. Read stories and myths from other cultures and religions. The 1st Christmas Story, the many stories of Santa Claus/Chris Kringle/Father Christmas, simple Google searches should turn up a Shmorgasborg (< yes we have one of those!)
4. Include decorations from all the holidays, but do each decoration a little more low key. Dial everything down to the same amount of importance. That way no one's individual decoration is more important, but equally.
5. Don't Celebrate the parts you don't like, focus on just the aspects of each holiday that you love. I don't like going to my family's Christmas Eve celebration, so we don't. It's loud, crazy, cold, and full of people who can't get along with each other the rest of the year, and it's plagued with insults masked in smiles. It makes me feel awful about myself each time I go. And I'm allowed to be happy in my life and my decisions. If there's a gathering that you dread each year, DON'T go! Call instead. Tell one person to say hi to everyone for you and leave it at that.
6. Don't let extended family push you to go all/nothing or nothing/all. It's your house, your family, your job to choose and build your traditions. It's your show, you direct it.
9. Be respectful of other's beliefs. If someone says "Merry Christmas" to you, say it back. If someone says "Happy Hanukkah" say it back. It's polite, it's respectful, and come on it's the holidays. Speaking of which let's drop "happy holidays" some people find it disrespectful and are quite sensitive about it.
10. Teach your children about both religions. Let them be informed and have the power to make their own decisions. Let them know it's OK for them not to choose your religion over their other parent's
Bottom line is the universal important point in all of the holidays is being TOGETHER and showing HUMANITY. Because it's the spirit of this season. Embrace it.