I Told my Kids about Santa and our Other Traditions
This is the first year I feel like I’m “In the Spirit.” Previous years everything just felt hard and like lots of work. My attitude was that of trying to keep up with what was “expected” for the Christmas season. People would give us plates of treats so I would have to make sure we did them too. People are suppose to do Christmas cards so we did them too, but I will admit we had fun with making those. Nevertheless, that expectation feeling was there and my motivating force in doing them. I gave to the Christmas baskets, I tried to do some kind of service, I bought all the presents and stocking suffers and let kids believe they were from Santa.
There was nothing wrong with any of it except I found no joy in it (except the Christmas basket part, I enjoy that and of course Christmas morning)
I also have always felt really guilty about lying to my kids that Santa exists. I know, I know, it’s fun and magical and kids love it. For real though, I just felt like I was lying to them and I had trouble getting past that feeling.
This is the first year I felt like IT WAS TIME to do our own traditions.
The first thing I did?
Get presents done early and I had a budget that was more of a guideline than a rule. We are super money conscious and I would often get angry when it was time to get gifts because I felt like we couldn’t afford what I actually wanted to get people and the list of people just gets bigger. This year I just got what I wanted to get them and it honestly felt SO good. I know there is a flip side to the coin where there is no restraint in gift buying, but that is not me. I usually agonize over any purchase until the last minute, so my shopping is never done early and I’m never satisfied with what I end up getting. This year I’m excited about what I got the grandparents instead of feeling anxiety about hoping it was “enough.”
Our Traditions starts with a new Christmas book that gets unwrapped every day until Christmas Eve. Not just any Christmas book, but ones of Christmas Miracles and of the Savior. Ones with rich meaning of the season. Next year they will get wrapped up and used again, just chosen in a different order. Also, everyone will be a year older and the books will have different and deeper meaning to us as we read them every year.
Next, is a new scripture we read every day of God’s gifts to us. Honestly, we haven’t been as awesome about doing this one everyday. But most days we will take one out of the little advent calendar I made and read and talk about it together.
Lastly, I told my kids who Santa really is. He is a symbol of giving with joy and without thought of anything in return. So as a family we are working on “Being Santa” and doing service together at least once a week. Instead of just me getting things for the Christmas basket, we are going to choose and prepare things together. Instead of just me thinking I NEED to try and serve in a special way, WE are going to serve together.
Ahnna and Isaac both offered to give their Nintendo DS’s away. I hesitated at first thinking it was too big, but what will that teach them if I don’t allow them to give freely? Should I buy them new ones as a reward for their sacrifice? Should I let them feel the loss? I haven’t decided on that yet. I’m just happy they are thinking of it, I’m hoping this idea of giving sinks in over the years. I like it MUCH better than seeing Santa as an expectation of getting presents they feel entitled to. They will still get presents, Christmas morning will still be wonderful, but maybe they will have a heart more of giving than receiving.
This is the best Christmas season yet! I think it is because I’m letting myself relax about what is expected of us and doing what I feel is most important.
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