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How To Celebrate an LGBTQ Christmas With Your Chosen Family

LGBTQ-Christmas-With-Your-Chosen-Family
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For many who identify as LGBTQ, the holidays can intensify feelings of distance and depression. At a time when you should be surrounded by warmth and cheer, you may be worried about not feeling welcome at home, and for others who are welcome, they may not be able to bring their chosen partner with them. It’s exhausting and puts a damper on Christmas celebrations, but this doesn’t have to be the case this year!

If your family home isn’t the best place to celebrate Christmas, maybe it’s time to celebrate with your chosen family. Invite your friends who love and accept you to create festive traditions together.  Read on and get inspired by these amazing ideas for a gay Merry Christmas with your friends!

What Is A Chosen Family?

Simply put, a chosen family is a group of people who love, support, respect, and accept you. Anyone who fulfills this role in your life is part of your chosen family. These could be your closest friends, neighbors, or workmates. 

Having a chosen family is especially important to LGBTQ+ people, who may experience discrimination from their biological family. Your chosen family are the ones who give you the sense of kinship and comfort that your biological family may not. This is especially welcome during the holidays when many expect to gather and celebrate with their families.

Let Go Of Your Holiday Disappointments

It’s hard to let go of the longing to be with your biological family over the holidays. But it’s even harder to put yourself through the heightened emotions of a chilly Christmas gathering. This becomes even more stressful when you’re “allowed” to come home, but your partner isn’t welcome, effectively forcing you to choose between them.

Ask yourself if celebrating with your family this year will truly bring you happiness, or if it’s just something you’re used to. If coming home on the holidays makes your stomach plummet, it’s time to change things up.

This change may be uncomfortable at first, but it allows you to take back the holidays as a joyous season. It’s also a good opportunity to let your chosen family learn more about you and come closer together. Let go of painful expectations and embrace new traditions that will make your Christmas a truly festive one!

Don’t Be Afraid To Set Healthy Boundaries

At first, your family may not understand why you won’t celebrate with them. They may feel hurt, even if your reasons are perfectly clear and valid. However, it’s important that you protect your well-being and self-respect. Drive home the idea that while you’re open to communication, you won’t be engaging in holiday festivities with them until you’re ready.

It’s important for you and your family to validate each other’s emotions in this sensitive time. Tell them that when you’re ready, you can all work out your concerns and frustrations another time. With this weight off your shoulders, you can focus on planning your holidays with your friends!

Ideas For A Jolly And Gay Christmas Celebration

Excited to celebrate Christmas with your chosen family, but not sure what you can all do together? Think of your values and what new memories you can create with them.

Here are some ideas for new traditions to have with your friends. By starting new traditions, you reframe what the holidays mean to you and how they can bring you happiness!

Decorate The Christmas Tree Together

One fun idea for an LGBT Christmas is to ask your chosen family to participate in tree decoration. Request each guest to bring an ornament for a bare Christmas tree. And don’t forget those rainbow ornaments! On Christmas Day, let everyone put up their selected ornament and make this tree special to your family.

Ornaments can be handmade, or simply symbols that remind them of happy times. Like the ornaments, you and your chosen family may not look the same, but you all came together to form something beautiful and special!

Swap Wintry Themes For Florida’s White Beaches

Who says you can’t dream of a white Christmas on Florida’s sunny shores? Florida doesn’t have the ideal weather for roasting chestnuts over an open fire. However, it’s a great place to sip festive cocktails while making Christmas-themed sandcastles or attending boat parades! Many Floridians get in the holiday spirit by wearing Christmas-themed shirts and creating sand Christmas trees.

Sing Christmas carols by the beach or have a holiday picnic by the ocean. Instead of bundling up in fuzzy sweaters, don festive flip-flops and swimsuits. With over 8,000 miles of shoreline, you and your chosen family should enjoy Florida’s beaches to the fullest.

Have A Donation Drive Together

The holidays are all about giving, and what could embody this spirit more than a donation drive? Choose a local charity or cause that you and your friends want to support. You can choose a different cause to donate to every year!

Decide together if you should donate in kind, or if you should forgo gift-giving to pool a cash donation together. This is a wonderful way to give back to your community and make someone’s Christmas brighter too. 

Host A Fun Family Potluck

Sharing food together is a powerful act that brings people closer together. It’s also a simple way to show how much you care. Instead of having only one person handle all the cooking and food preparation, host a party and ask your friends to bring an item they love to eat to your holiday potluck.

It can be something store-bought, or it can be something they whipped up in the kitchen from a beloved recipe. It helps you learn more about your friends, their stories, and the things that give them comfort. Best of all, it saves one person the stress of managing a meal for a whole group!

Have A Holiday-Themed Movie Night

Want to keep your holiday celebration casual yet fun? Select a holiday-themed film for movie night with your chosen family. There are many wonderful LGBTQ+ holiday movies that’ll definitely make your spirits gay, whether you’re in the mood for a romcom or a tearjerker.

Ask all your guests to bring a drink or snack that they want to share and enjoy together while watching these films. It’s a lowkey, chill way to hang out during Christmas, and you can choose a different movie every year.

Get Crafty Together

Arts and crafts are a fun way to bond over the holidays, and you can choose to do a different craft every year. One year, you could all bake and decorate your own gingerbread family members. Another year, your chosen family could have a wine and art night where you all sip and paint on small easels. The key is to make it a craft that you will all enjoy learning and doing.

Host A Game Night

Board games and card games can bring out a little bit of that fun, competitive spirit in your group. Have a different theme every year for your Christmas game night. For example, you could choose Clue as your game this year and have a murder mystery-themed holiday gathering. Costumes, food, and decorations can all be customized to fit with each year’s theme, making every celebration unique and memorable!

Have A Holigay Swap

Do you have clothes, books, or other items that you don’t use or need anymore? Invite everyone in your chosen family to bring something for a holiday “holigay” swap, where you all trade your own items with someone else’s. Anything that doesn’t get chosen can get donated to your local LGBTQ thrift store. This helps declutter your house and bring something new into it, with the chance of giving back!

Host A Singalong Brunch

Are your friends the kind who love a good song and dance? A singalong brunch may be just the thing! Put on your favorite musicals and sing together, or form teams and have a little sing-off contest. After belting out beloved tunes, you can all enjoy pancakes and omelets together!

Put Your Dancing Shoes On For Holiday Disco

Speaking of a good old song and dance, there’s no need to step outside to get your groove on. Transform your home into a dance club with a few strategically placed lights. They’ll complement the twinkle off your Christmas tree as your guests strut their stuff on your living room floor. Extra points if you can find dance remixes of holiday tunes that you can laugh and dance to all together!

Swap Decked Halls For Deck Chairs

There aren’t too many states where you can enjoy pleasant weather for an outdoor Christmas celebration. Take advantage of Florida’s sunshine by inviting your chosen family for a holiday barbecue. Take your celebration outdoors, where you can enjoy light sea breezes and fresh air!

Decorate your home accordingly. Instead of getting a real or artificial Christmas tree, adorn your deck with Christmas decorations. Hang boughs of holly, tinsel, and bright Christmas lights to give your deck a festive vibe while you mix drinks and heat up the grill!

Send A Christmas Card From Christmas

Yes, you read that title correctly! There’s a little town in Central Florida named Christmas, and every year people visit to post letters from the most festively-named place in America. Go on a little road trip to Christmas with your chosen family and send postcards to an assigned member’s home from there.

Add a little doodle or meaningful message to warm their heart. It’ll be a thrill to receive them later on and see their postmark when you come back from your trip. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out their other holiday-themed attractions such as their permanent Christmas tree and nativity scene!

Make New Holiday Traditions With Your Chosen Family

You don’t need to put up with stress and loneliness on Christmas. Instead of making yourself endure awkward family reunions or solitary holidays, spend Christmas with your chosen family. Christmas can be your unique and warm holiday where you are loved and accepted, regardless of the choices of your relatives.

Whether you’re a homebody or the life of the party, there’s an idea here that you can make your own tradition. Get inspired by our ideas and try them out with friends, neighbors, and other welcome guests this season. With so much kindness all around you, you’ll have an unforgettable gay Christmas this year!


***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She was the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization. She is currently the Publisher of OutCoast.com and Producer of the OutCoast TV YouTube Channel, both of which highlight LGBTQ welcoming destinations in Florida.


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