So we asked around and got some great feedback on what people do to celebrate the the holidays - from a multicultural perspective. Here are just a few of their answers:
Italian Christmas' are the best - From the Christmas Eve Feast of 7 Fishes (usually calamari, octopus, shrimp, etc.) and Christmas Day with lamb and veal and basically food, food and more food the whole time!!!! Then of course several naps in between eating and laughing and drinking wine!!!! And although I am almost 40, La Befana (my mom :) STILL delivers candy and presents on January 6th! I love the holidays and my heritage!!!!!
Posadas! Mexican Posadas are so interesting!
American Thanksgiving. Virtually every American celebrates it, adding their own cultural touches to the feast! That's the reason I love the holiday so much. Everyone celebrates it: Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Ba'Hai, of every ethnic background- and we are blessed with everyone of every kind here in the Big Melting Pot! I've been to Hispanic T-Giving dinners with lots of rice dishes and home-cooked corn tortillas and tamales, an Iraqi-American Thanksgiving with mid-eastern delicacies, (both dinners had turkey as the main dish, btw) and of course my family's english tradition of stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole... and I must stop now because I am getting hungry. Always the turkey, though. It's can be bought kosher, isn't pork, and it's totally "New World" in origin. The turkey sort of knits us together as Americans., while the remainder of the food reflects our national and religious heritages. Let it be ever so!
I believe any new internet pseudo-holiday meme is ultimately multicultural (or maybe more accurately acultural). Things like the talk-like-a-pirate day are not fixed to any specific culture. My personal favourite is Winter-een-mas deriving from the ctrl alt del comics. Its pretty much a gamer festivity that started as a joke on a comic strip and has grown and spread into something that seems quite fun (it has its own site iirc, try googleing it)
In my experience you can celebrate according to your own beliefs as long as you give room to others and dont try to "sell" your version of it. Invite others along, and keep the atmosphere light, and most people will be happy to take part, for the sake of experience if nothing else. Being too polite and politically correct just creates silly situations, like kingergardens not having Santa over in fear of making some parent angry and so on. Especially with kids, I think it's not a bad idea to let them see what's out there, to see how other people celebrate as well! And perhaps when they grow up they will understand not to make such a big thing about "happy holidays" vs. "merry christmas".
The "Traditional American Christmas" is multicultural in and of itself. Like MANY American Traditions, it is largely made up of traditions brought to this country by immigrants from other cultures. Even the day (Dec. 25th) and the Christmas tree itself were coopted from pagan festivals by early church leaders to usurp the pagan celebrations. My family spent several years in Japan, where I was born. For many, many years, Tempura was our "traditional" Christmas Eve meal. This is one of the real strengths of America. We tend to borrow from other cultures those things we like, and we are not too particular about where they come from. For example, Salsa has overtaken Kechup as the #1 condiment in this country.
Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23rd. The holiday's celebration includes an aluminum "Festivus pole", practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and the "Feats of Strength", and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles". Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as "Festivus for the rest of us"
Additional Fun Multicultural Holiday Links: