Including a Child’s Heritage in Your Holiday Celebrations

Now days, families come in all shapes and sizes. They may be blends of race, religion, heritage and culture. As more family mosaics are created, holiday celebrations are being enhanced and created. For adoptive families, this opens a myriad of opportunities for you, your child and family to build another layer of traditions and rituals.

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  • Add a dish from your child’s place or birth to your menu. Search World Cuisine here.
  • Make an equivalent dish to one of your family’s from your child’s place of birth. (i.e.: wontons and kreplach, perogies and knishes, couscous and kasha, etc.)
  • Decorate a cake with symbols from your child’s culture.


  • Include ornaments or streamers that reflect your child’s birth culture or country on your tree.
  • Help your child make holiday cards for family and friends that include stickers, colors, etc., from their country or place of birth.
  • Find cultural and country kid’s crafts here.
  • Have your child make place cards reflecting their heritage or culture for your sit down meal.


  • Choose a tablecloth or use candles that depict the colors of your child’s birth country flag for your menorah or table setting.
  • Create your table decor or buffet centerpiece which is symbolic of your child’s heritage or culture.
  • Make a streamer of the flags that reflect the birth place of all your family members and hang them up in your home. It is beautiful, colorful and a great conversation starter.
  • Hang up a world map, and as people visit your home, ask people to place a pushpin in their place of birth. Another conversation starter.
  • Check out world flags.

If your child is old enough, ask if they want to include something special in your holiday planning and events. Make it a fun activity. Use it as time to discuss adoption and how you came together as a family. Discuss how the adoption has changed, influenced or enhanced your family. Talk about changes in foods, traditions, rituals and observances. Celebrate your differences, sameness and how you have blended the two.

Including everyone’s heritage, culture, foods and traditions will make your holiday celebrations special. You are creating new traditions and rituals. You are teaching your family and friends acceptance, at the same time reinforcing the uniqueness of your family.

Happy holidays.

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