One of the things I enjoy about having my own family is making our own traditions. I feel like in general people stick with a lot of traditions they grew up with having plus modifying, adding and eliminating some of their own. We’re no different. I have many friends and family members that have totally different Holiday traditions and I love it! I intrigues me to know what others do around the Holiday season and I totally respect the likeness and differences we have.
I’ve noticed a lot this Holiday season families are eliminating Santa from their traditions. Honestly the thought of that depresses me. I get why some families choose to do it, and to each their own, but I love that jolly, fat man. He doesn’t represent some creep sneaking into children’s homes. I don’t feel like I am lying to my kids when I tell when Santa and his elves are watching to make sure he’s good. When I set cookies and milk out for Santa and carrots and celery for the reindeer I don’t think I’m setting my kids up for future distress. My son goes to a non-church sponsored preschool/daycare and will eventually be going to our excellent public school. Santa exists in those places. It’s okay by me to have a little magic during the holiday season. If my children were to flat out ask me if Santa was real, I would tell them the truth. However I see nothing wrong with Holiday magic during childhood. I talked to my mom about this a few weeks ago and she said when we were growing up her sister (my Aunt) was mega anti-Santa. She didn’t get it then but she tells me she gets it now. It’s her opinion that Jesus is the reason for the season and anything that goes against that isn’t her style anymore. I totally get that. However since while we do follow many Christian ideals, we are not hard core enough to want to eliminate Santa for religious reasons. So, Santa exists in our house and will continue to do so until my kids decide on their own they don’t want to believe in him anymore.
Last year we decided to gift based on a Pin I saw on Pinterest. I’m sure you’ve seen it; something you wear, read, want and need. We added a Santa gift to that list to make it our own. I’m really against boat loads of presents for our family. Throughout the year if my son wants something or I want to get him something, I just buy it. We don’t wait for major Holidays to get it. Growing up I had friends who didn’t get a lot throughout the year so their parents gifted heavily, that makes more sense to me. During my childhood we did both, my parents bought us lots of gifts. If I had to guess, I would say all four kids got about a dozen presents each and they were all really nice. Plus we got pretty much anything and everything we wanted throughout the year. I know my husband’s family had INSANE amounts of gifts at Christmas but he’s totally on board with our five gift guideline.
I found that since following that guideline I have become a lot more thoughtful about what we pick out. Last year was our rookie year doing this and I know Brody really enjoyed what we chose. Plus he didn’t have so many gifts he forgot 3/4s of what he got just hours later. Erik and I do not exchange gifts over the Holidays and we usually don’t buy much for either of our families, if we buy anything for them at all. We don’t go without, if we really want something for ourselves we just buy it. It doesn’t help that we’re on a tighter budget over the winter since I typically have less real estate closings and Erik doesn’t do as much contracting work. We’re not tight but if we went all out buying for every family member we might be. I wonder if I would feel differently about gift giving if we were super high rollers, but I doubt it. I could go out and buy massive amounts of gifts on a budget. I’m a heck of a deal finder. We just choose not to.
Like most, we try to make the Holidays about family and spending quality time together. I like decorating our tree and stuffing fun little items in stockings. We have the traditional Rudolf and Frosty the Snowman DVDs I used to watch as a kid. I like buying Christmas pajamas. Since our son was born we go to our Bass Pro Shops, brave the lines and get our free picture with Santa. The pictures have turned out horrible each year but they’re still fun to look at. Nothing is more fun sometimes then a stroll through the mall while it’s all decorated and Christmas music blasting.
Despite being so “un-traditional” in many aspects of parenting, we are pretty traditional when it comes to our Holiday celebrations and I like it that way. Besides our moderation in gift giving we’re your typical American family when it comes to Christmas. The great thing is we can add and modify any traditions throughout the year to fit us.