7 Creative Ways to Honor Your Child’s Culture at Christmas

Holidays are a great time to celebrate the varying and diverse cultural heritage that makes up the fabric of an adoptive family.

Incorporating your child’s cultural roots in a special way tells your child–with or without saying it–that these roots are important, not only for him or her, but for your entire family.

Here are 7 creative ways to honor your child’s culture at Christmas–


1. Eat something.

Thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet, you can find a recipe for just about anything. Go to a site like allrecipes.com and enter a country name into the search box. Incorporate an item onto the main holiday menu or serve it as a special snack at bedtime. Kinche from Ethiopia or dumplings from China would make an excellent family holiday tradition.

Bonus: Look for international grocery stores in your area, or order treats online.


child's culture
Making treats in the Ukraine CCP (Constant Christian Presence) program


2. Read something.

Look for books that celebrate your child’s ethnicity or cultural history without perpetuating negative stereotypes. These stories don’t even need to be Christmas-specific (although that would be a double-win!) Gather the family for hot chocolate and read a story by the lights of the tree.

Bonus: Look for books at your local library (or via interlibrary loan) to save money!


3. Wear something.

If you traveled overseas to complete your child’s adoption and you bought something wearable, consider adding it to your Christmas attire or for a family photo. It’s easy to overlook these items if they aren’t “holiday-inspired,” but they add a nice touch.

Bonus: If you don’t own any clothing or accessories from your child’s birth country, consider investing in a gift from that country that helps someone in need. Rahab’s Rope, for instance, sells beautiful items made by women at risk in India.


the Wilson brothers, children of a Lifesong family
The Wilson brothers, children of a Lifesong family


4. Give something.

Give your child a gift inspired by her place of birth. (Or help your child pick gifts from her place of birth to give others.) Again, thanks to the Internet, it’s possible to order items online from virtually anywhere. Search for your child’s home country on Etsy, for instance, and you may be surprised by the options.

Bonus: If you’re interested in giving a gift that gives back, consider honoring your son or daughter by helping someone in need with Gifts of Purpose from your child’s country of birth.


5. Display something.

Pair a souvenir or memento with flowers or holiday decor. Slide a family photo from adoption day into a photo ornament on the tree.

Bonus: Look for a Nativity Set from your child’s country of birth. These beautiful displays not only honor Christ, but they create an excellent discussion piece for visitors who enter your home.


Zambian Nativity
Nativity Set from Zambia


6. Make something.

Get crafty! Make ornaments with the colors from your child’s birth country or trace and cut out patterns on pages of an old map. Pinterest is crawling with ideas of things to make from countries close to your heart.

Bonus: Do these art projects with your child. Glitter and glue may not be your cup of tea, but the memories that result will last a lifetime.


DIY babushka ornament from Ukraine
DIY babushka ornament from Ukraine


7. Do something.

Try a tradition from your child’s home country. In Ukraine, for instance, Christmas Eve is an important time. Families fast all day–light snacking allowed–to honor the difficult journey Mary and Joseph took to reach Bethlehem. Children are encouraged to watch the sky in search of the first evening star. When it appears, the family gathers to share a feast of traditional dishes.

Bonus: If possible, invite someone into your home with experience living in or visiting the same home country. Look for missionaries home from the field or fellow adoptive families. The more the merrier!