It's actually kind of interesting. And special. I love that everyone, each family, has their thing and way they celebrate. I don't judge the elf on a shelf people (hiiii! there are a lot of you), just because I find him a tad bit creepy and it's something we don't do. I just don't tend to be about the whole, someone is watching you, so be on best behavior -thing. In fact, the other day (getting ready to tell on myself)- for the first time ever, I said something about telling Santa that she hadn't been listening. IMMEDIATELY I FELT GROSS. That is not my style, and yet, in a moment of, OhmygoshIneedHELP I pulled the Santa card? No. I won't be doing that again. That's not my preferred way to parent.
Speaking of Santa--here's how we choose to handle that as a family.
We are very Santa-light. He's not our focus, not at all, but we do a little Santa on the side and I think our balance so far is ok. It's very important to us that we focus on Jesus' birth and I'm really grateful that she gets that. If we ask her why we celebrate Christmas, she will always mention something about Jesus, his birthday, we celebrate when he was born, etc. For years, we didn't have to 'do' anything Santa, because, um, she was a baby. Or a small toddler who didn't care. I never put her on Santa's lap for the sake of a picture--why? Because it wasn't a preference of mine. I just didn't care. (I do love to laugh at all your screaming-with-terror pics with Santa, though--just saying.)
But this year, for the first time--she asked.
So, we let her.
It was fine, and she enjoyed it. Santa was pleasant--asked her what she wanted for Christmas. She told him, then he said, "anything else little girl?"
This is when she adamantly told him, "No, Santa. My mom and dad told me to ask for JUST ONE PRESENT."
Which leads me to this:
Santa brings just one gift in our little family. Declan and I decided this was a compromise. There's a part of me that could just not do Santa at all and be fine with it. But I do think there's a part of it's that fun and imaginative, and, how is it different than the friggin' tooth fairy, I mean-really. It's not.
Santa is a cool guy and all-but, he just gets the credit for one gift (the one she reeeeeally wants, which, I think is nice of me....ok?), and then mom and dad get the credit for the rest and, maybe I'm selfish, but whatever.
I think it's possible to Do Santa and Celebrate Jesus, too. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. I also think every family has to choose what balance works for them, and that's cool, too.
Let's talk stockings.
My husband brought the tradition of EVERY TINY LITTLE GIFT IS WRAPPED in the stocking to this family. It is one he will not compromise on. (Thank you to my mother-in-law for this, ha. Hiiii! She reads.) When I am up wrapping every tiny little gosh darn thing, feeling rage in my bones, crumpling up more tape, and getting sick of cutting tiny little bits of wrapping paper, I hate this tradition with a passion.
|Katie-throwback. Christmas morning.|
Obviously my mom didn't like Christmas pjs.
THAT or by the 3rd kid you just don't care.
When it's my turn to open my stocking? I LOVE IT.
Because it IS fun to unwrap every little thing. Even if it is just a chapstick.
Also. Stockings come from one another, not Santa (does Santa ever do stockings? I'm not really up on my Santa FAQ) Declan and I do each others, and then together we do the kids. It's kinda fun.
Christmas Eve is reserved for Declan's family. It's always been our special time to celebrate, eat dinner together, sing carols, read the Christmas story, and then open gifts by the light of the tree. I love having a Christmas Eve tradition and think it's really special that my kids get to experience this.
The first few hours of Christmas morning is just us. Here, at home. Making our own little memories and experiencing the joy with just the four of us. We make cinnamon rolls and coffee, and open gifts and play. Then we head over to my parents late morning and do the same thing there, all together, with all my siblings and the kids. It's a chaotic, fun, crazy blast.
Tell me about your Christmas do's and don'ts. Are you stocking stuffer wrappers, too? Elf-on-a-shelf'ers? Santa-believers? You know the drill.