This article was published on December 5th, 2016
For decades movies and advertising has focused on the traditional family. Selling the iconic mom, dad, and kids, creating the perfect family. The 20th century saw a significant change in the separation of church and state, women’s rights, changes in societal views, developments in technology, and dramatic progression of rights and freedoms. Divorce and blended families have become normal and are accepted, and now, so are gay families. The term, family, has and will continue to change. Christmas evokes powerful emotions of nostalgia, happiness, sadness, and more. This is especially true for non-traditional families. If the heteronormative Christmas is so familiar, then how do you celebrate a very gay Christmas? Is it really that different?
Christmas is about being together with family and loved ones. In the LGBT community, inherited blood relatives don’t define family; it is called a chosen family. Chosen families may include friends, families, mentors, and allies. To be part of a chosen family you must be precious, valuable, and deserve a family that appreciates you for exactly who you are. It’s important to spend Christmas with the family you create and the family that is worth your time. This is not a small distinction; it is of great importance. Many gay people are not welcome in their natural family homes after coming out, or are only accepted by some members of their family. It becomes increasing important to appreciate and celebrate the season with a chosen family, for love, guidance, support, and to create traditions.
A gay Christmas is also about creating memories and traditions. Forget tacky Christmas. Tinsel, plastic, and flashing lights are from days gone by. In the LGBT world, things are done with style, and Christmas is no exception. Think outside the box and merge old traditions with new attitudes. Go for ribbons, candles, plush greens rich reds, and winter colours – powder blues and icy whites. It’s a celebration of a new era. Be loud. Be proud. This is the time to create new traditions.
Gay men are health conscious, even during the holidays. When it comes to food, the world is your oyster! Or lobster, steak, or other non-traditional choices! The traditional 16 lb turkey is easily swapped out for something different, like duck or goose. Cranberry sauce doesn’t come from a can, it’s homemade with a mint twist. There are candied yams with ginger and a nutmeg glaze. Fat-loaded mashed potatoes and gravy are replaced with baked sweet potatoes drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. Of course cocktails, wine, and bubbles are served up before, during, and after dinner!
It’s important to bring your own traditions to the table too. Take the kids to the mall to get a family photo with Santa, get together with your chosen family to walk through the neighbourhood singing Christmas carols, or enjoy a quiet evening at home watching nostalgic Christmas movies, like National Lampooons Christmas Vacation and The Santa Clause. Make it unique and your own by putting up the ultimately decorated and styled Christmas tree, hang a homemade wreath, and deck the halls with all the splendid gay glory. Old traditions also make a comeback, including handwritten Christmas cards send through the mail, to all those who are special.
Gay Christmas isn’t about changing traditions. It’s about evolving them to fit with modern attitudes and modern times. This Christmas, lets open our hearts and minds to create a unique and special festive season that sees the old and the new blend together in perfect harmony.