A Polyglot Christmas

As a polyglot family we think it is really important for our children to experience other cultures. To understand and empathise with other cultures is just as important as speaking the language. Winter is a dark time and midwinter festivals are there to bring light and celebration.
This week’s blog is about the midwinter festivals we celebrated as a family, our polyglot Christmas.
As a German and English family we celebrated St Nikolaus Day on 6th December. Here is a video of us finding our boots the next day.


We’ve done this since our children were young. It’s just what we do as family at that time of year. My middle daughter often gets embarrassed about being different, but she was really pleased to discover a few of her Polish friends celebrated St Nikolaus day, too.
Our local church held a St Lucia celebration. I was so keen to see it for myself, having heard a few others talk about it. Here is the video of the event.

After this brilliant celebration we shared some typical Swedish food together and we had the chance to talk to some children who are bilingual Swedish and English. They love that they can have lives in both countries. One girl talked with glee about the summer house her family have in Northern Sweden.


As a family we also light the lights of Hanukkah, remembering how God provided for his people when their temple was destroyed. Eight nights of remembering God’s goodness and the chance to learn a bit of Hebrew together.
We celebrated Christmas in the UK with my parents with English Christmas carols and mostly English traditions, though they did pick us up a few times for answering them in German. Have you had a polyglot Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.
I hope you and your family have had a lovely Christmas. It just remains for our family to wish you and your family a very happy and blessed new year.

Sarah, Maik and family.


  • We live in Wales and my mother is first language Welsh. I’m learning and my daughter goes to Welsh school. It’s so good for children to grow up around other languages. I’m not aware of any Christmas tradition peculiar to Wales though. Celebrating other cultures holidays would be such a good way to integrate x

  • I definitely agree with you about celebrating the importance of two cultures for children who have more than one. I’m from the Philippines and my daughter knows about the difference. We celebrate Christmas there on the Eve of the 24th, so we allow our daughter to open some presents (especially from my family back home) on the eve and then the next day, we celebrate Christmas the “British Way”, Christmas lunch, roast, crackers, the works 🙂

  • Awww bless your daughter feeling embarrassed about being different. I’m sure she’ll embrace it when she’s older. How wonderful that you celebrated different things at Christmas. I think it’s wonderful for your children to experience that. They will learn so much from it x

  • Wow sounds like a really interesting December. Would love to learn more about your lifestyle!

  • Interesting post. Looks like you had a lovely Christmas!

  • Before today, I had never heard the term Polyglot! I feel much more informed now! We have neighbours who are German/English and they also celebrate St Niklous Day. They also open their presents on Christmas Eve, leading to a discussion with my little darlings about why they can and we can’t!! I love how different cultures celebrate in different ways, I wish our schools still taught the different celebrations. I remember (way back) when I was at primary school going on a school trip to learn about Hanukkah, and the festival of light. xx

  • I think this is wonderful, it is so nice to revere both cultural traditions and stay true to your old and new heritage. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • I think it is very important to learn and embrace as cultures as much as your own and for the kids this broadens there knowledge. Happy Belated Christmas

  • Thanks for your comment. It’s great for children to know where they come from and celebrate that together. Good luck on your journey!

  • Thanks Leah!
    There are so many opportunities to experience other cultures in the UK. We went along to a local Chinatown event this weekend. We had a lot of fun and it was on our doorstep!

  • As a family we split our time between the UK and Germany. Our boys also celebrate St Nikolaus but we have a British Christmas. I think it is so important for children to know and appreciate different countries x

  • I have to be honest and admit to having to google Polyglot. I think its lovely that you have two sets of family traditions to celebrate and share, and such an advantage for the kids being able to speak more than one language 🙂

  • I used to nanny a trilingual child – she’s done so well at school here and I’m sure she’ll go on to have a good career given her gift with languages. I should add she was trilingual as a child but now speaks six different languages fluently at age 11. I remember a thanksgiving where I was the only one speaking English in a room of 5 or 6 conversations – I felt woefully under educated! What a lovely way to embrace the multitude of cultures you have. Very admirable (and envy inducing!)

  • I completely agree that it is important for children to celebrate both cultures and understand where they come from. Its great that you have been able to do this. I have only learnt about 6th Dec from reading other peoples blogs this year, which goes to show we do not celebrate other traditions enough. I am glad your family had a great time x

  • Awesome! It’s great your children experience both cultures. Do they speak some German too?

  • Hi Laura
    It’s not tricky to expose children to languages. Start by passing on what you know, counting, colours whatever you know. There are lots of online resources like you tube, games like Duolingo, you talk depending on their age. Singing is my favourite way to learn and so simple. I’d be happy to chat to you about bringing languages into everyday in your family. It’s great for your brain as well!

  • im all for embracing all cultures.. me and my husband grew up as Irish catholic.. but want to be more liberal with our daughter

  • A very good idea, I really want teach L about different cultures

  • A lovely post, our Christmas was a traditional British one – we are English and Welsh. I love reading about other lifestyles and cultures. Kaz x

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