What if your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas?
In most of Canada, Christmas is traditionally celebrated in December. That said, decorations, Christmas music and specialty craft and food markets start showing up as early as November 1, and sometimes even before Halloween. The Hawkesbury region is no exception to this. Christmas is both a religious celebration, namely Christian, and a time to eat, drink and shop. It can be wonderful for some and extravagant for others.
Most of all, we urge you to keep in mind that just because you’re now living in Canada, you don’t have to abandon your cultural or family traditions or your religious celebrations. Far from it! However, we know it can be hard to ignore the season’s omnipresent Christmas trees, decorations, songs and activities—especially if you’re a parent. It can be tough for kids to understand that Canadian traditions are different from your own. Your child might also feel left out by classmates or their friends at daycare, who are excited about the holiday season.
Let your child take part in the festivities, without compromising your beliefs
What do you do if your child asks you why you don’t have a Christmas tree, or if Santa Claus will be coming to your home? Some parents adopt new traditions, such as decorating a “Hanukkah tree” with Stars of David or a “Kwanzaa tree” with edible trimmings. But that’s not the only way to give your child a taste of Christmas magic. Here are a few ideas:
Many organizations will be more than grateful for any goods you can donate or time you can volunteer. It may be a small gesture on your part, but it means a lot to them! Volunteering is a great way to teach your child to “give back,” and it can also be a great way to meet new people.
Here’s a list of some places you might consider:
- Hawkesbury Central Food Bank
- Town of Hawkesbury
- Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) (HGH)
- Interlude House
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Champlain East
- Community services – Prescott-Russell
Beyond religion, Christmas in Canada is all about creating a sense of magic, joy and togetherness. It’s a time when young and old alike allow themselves to dream. When you visit stores and malls, let yourself be swept up in the magic of the lights, decorations and carols.
You could hang twinkle lights in common areas or your child’s room. They aren’t a religious symbol and they’re pretty to look at.
Explain to your child that Christmas is like going to a friend’s birthday party. You can go and have a great time, but it’s your friend’s celebration. You can have fun and be happy during the holiday period, but this doesn’t replace your traditional celebrations.
You can visit Santa Claus at the local mall or attend a Christmas parade, if you feel comfortable with that. If not, take a moment to explain to your kids that gifts aren’t really from Santa Claus, but make sure they understand not to repeat this to children who believe in Santa, as it is important to respect others’ values and beliefs.
Create your own Christmas traditions
Christmas isn’t just a religious festival. For some people, it’s simply an opportunity to celebrate with friends, gather as a family and organize fun activities. You too deserve to feel included in this festive period!
Why not create new traditions with your family or friends? For example, you could organize an evening to celebrate and get to know the various traditions observed by those in your social circle. These kinds of activities give both you and your children a chance to learn about cultures from all around the world and to keep an open mind.
Whether or not you decide to incorporate a dash of Christmas into your family’s life, the most important thing is to find a solution that you are all comfortable with so that the holidays are an enjoyable time.
It is with a loving heart that we wish you a very happy holiday season!
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