I am engaged to truly wonderful man who was baptized into the LDS church a few years ago. My fiance was not a member of a Christian faith before he joined the church, and he has never really celebrated Christmas before. Not even in a secular way. This may not seem like a big deal, but allow me to illustrate: we could have been set up by a mutual friend six months before we eventually met, but we weren’t, because the mutual friend thought my fiance didn’t get Christmas and, remembering that my mother replaces every piece of decor in her house with Christmas decor during December, was convinced that the relationship could never work.
I have a big, loud, loving Mormon family that does not believe in halfhearted Christmas celebrations. We’re talking matching pajamas and rhyming, multi-stage treasure hunts and nativity re-enactments and Danish aebleskivers from my great-grandmother’s recipe and grandkids bolting to bed after sighting Rudolph’s nose in the sky and a laundry list of other traditions. And I’m afraid that this might be a little overwhelming for an adult’s first Christmas. My fiance’s heart is in the right place: the commercialism of Christmas is off-putting to him, he wishes the crowds at Temple Square would go inside the building and serve in addition to looking at the lights, and he went to two church Christmas parties last year where talk of Santa and presents abounded but there was nary a mention of the baby born in Bethlehem. I should say, too, that though he’s a little nervous about the prospect of my family’s enormous Christmas celebrations, he has prepared in the best way he knows how: research. Months ago, after a conversation about some of my family’s Christmas traditions, he got online and bought for himself one of our favorite Christmas storybooks. The book is out of print and probably cost him a small fortune, but it was very sweet. He is trying to understand why this holiday is important to me.
So here’s the trick: How do I help this man I love understand this celebration that is important to my faith, to my family, and to me?