Share Your Story: Evolving Holiday Traditions

We asked our reader panel: Did you adapt your family's existing holiday traditions after adopting your child? If so, tell us how.

Holiday traditions can change when your family grows

The Family Tree

While we were waiting to finalize the adoption of our daughter in Arizona, we bought a handmade Christmas ornament at an Indian reservation. We plan to use that ornament to tell Ashley about her adoption. Over the years, as Ashley and her attention span grow, we will tell our family’s story when we decorate the tree.
Tonya McMurray

Two for One

Last year, on our first Christmas together, my 11-year-old son, David, and I shared our favorite holiday traditions we remembered from before we became a family: I liked to buy one new ornament each year, and he had fond memories of getting new pajamas, having hot cocoa, and reading The Night Before Christmas. Now, after we hang the new ornament on the tree together, he unwraps a new pair of warm pajamas, we sip hot cocoa, and we read pages from his favorite Christmas story. We’ll add a new tradition this year: I get one sip of coffee before present-opening time!
Don Meador

Haitian Sensation

Since adopting our son from Haiti, I’ve begun displaying Haitian nativities alongside my American ones throughout the season. On Christmas, we listen to a tape of the Christmas story in Haitian Creole before feasting on a home-cooked Haitian meal. I’m exploring other Haitian traditions, like putting shoes filled with straw under the tree for Papa Noel’s presents. Jwe Nwel! (Merry Christmas!)
Angia Macomber

Our Little Dumplings

On Christmas Eve, we have dinner at a Chinese restaurant. This tradition began during the wait to adopt our daughter, Audrey, from China. This year, little sister Ava will join us, too!
Karen Wallace-Meigs

Merry Bhandhan

We’ve begun celebrating traditional Indian holidays. Now, in addition to Easter and Christmas, we observe Diwali, Holi, Raksha Bhandhan, and Ganesh Chaturthi. We have a reason to celebrate every month of the year!
Pamela Bleisch Strawn


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