Monday, December 19, 2011

the santa situation.

today trent asked the question.
who puts the treats in our stockings?
so I told him the truth. and he laughed. 

we knew this was coming.
we never told our children anything about santa.
but santa seemed to be everywhere.
the whole idea never sat well with us.

there are plenty of naughty kids with loads of presents.
and lots of nice children with none.
we wanted Jesus to be the focus. and wonderfully real.
so the hubs and I sat with not a reason to share the santa story 
and plenty of reasons not to.

as you can imagine, this does not fit well into the 
great american christmas.
but isn't that the point?

so as our faith started growing as did our desire to fill our days
each day, with more Jesus.
I emailed several friends asking for advice.
it seemed there were many others who felt this way,
a bit troubled by the way we have all turned Christmas upside down.
so I have decided to share a collection of some most wonderful ideas.
if this whole thing makes you wanna grumble over a glass of eggnog, 
then go ahead, this is what works for our family, and I understand it is not traditional.
but if you are trying to figure it all out, as we are, I hope this helps...

1. presents:
our view on presents stands year round.
invites throughout the year read "no gifts. just love".
we keep things simple around here.
we don't need much, especially the little ones.
so the less we have, I have found
the more space our mind has to play and wonder and grow.
and focus on the things that need focusing.

finding out our children's Love Languages
has helped ensure we were giving them the love they need most.
love, the greatest gift of all.

we have done "something to wear, something to read, something you want, and something you need"
the past few years. and that has worked great.
we ask family to keep it very simple, and not feel obligated to buy.
our kids would love someone taking them out to play more than any toy.

the kids earn money to buy our immediate family gifts at the school.
but as they grow older, we would love to have them make those gifts.
design mom  has great ideas for sibling gifts too.

the focus is not on wanting or receiving.
it just doesn't make much sense to me to make a list of all the things you want weeks after making a list of all the things you are so thankful that you already have.
so there are gifts. but the focus is on giving.
giving our time. and money. and love to those around.
we are reevaluating each tradition
to see how we can use it to serve or share love.
and that is is the best kind of gift.

when talking with friends some other great ideas:
  • "emphasize the real Saint Nicholas and his devotion to Jesus which showed itself in his care for the poor. And how he filled their socks with goodies, food and coins and did it secretly."
  • "because we love Jesus, we try to continue the spirit of generosity and it's so fun to do in fun ways without others even knowing it was us" love that!
  • a gift for Jesus. using earned money to give something back to him.
  • Giving three gifts, representing: gold, frankincense, and myrrh
  • using the compassion catalog or other charities for when people ask what you would like to receive.
2. santa

we didn't bring it up with trent until now and that seemed to work well.
but Santa is everywhere.
and we want our children to know beyond a doubt.
every gift is from God.
not mom. dad. and most certainly not from a magical man in a red suit.
our desire is to better connect thanksgiving with christmas.
to continue the attitude of thanks to sharing and giving at Christmas.
we told trent about the real st. nicholas.
and took some great advice in comparing him to a fairy tale character.
and just like it is most certainly fun to pretend play jedi's with lightsabers, 
we can still pretend santa if he likes.
and the most important thing: that we did not share this with other children 
who still may like pretending.
fingers crossed!

3. Christ

a friend said it best, 
"We are constantly trying to find ways to increase Christ 
and decrease Santa and materialism."

so thinking of how we can incorporate the heart of a servant and sharing Christ's love with others
each day
in as many ways.
is our family goal.

so for Christmas, we do our 
faith and home devotions under the christmas tree.
we read the story of Christ's birth in Luke.
we visited a nativity scene.
we talked about how mary must have felt when Jesus was born.
we pretend what it was like to be in the stable.
we decorated cookies, and delivered them.
we went caroling to our neighbors.
and collected foods for the pantry.

the point is that you can still have loads of festive fun while serving.
and sharing love.

so if you are still reading, I hope this helps.
I hope it excites you the way it does our family.
This is the season of joy and hope and love.
and sharing the best gift we will ever receive, Christ's love, with others.

a merry merry Christmas to you!

thank you to CM, HW, KH for sharing.
and please, if you have any ideas, do share!


TheWrightStuff said...

Leslie, I stop by your darling blog often and always love what I see. Your sweet family, love for God and parenting style keep me coming back for another dose of Drywall and Diapers! I enjoyed this post and struggle with the view so many have about what Christmas means as well. I too have a young boy who I am trying to raise "well" and I will put some of your fantastic ideas to use. Thanks for sharing! Have a Blessed Christmas! Trisha

The Olsen Family said...

Leslie, this post is so well written, well thought out and with such a great heart, I had to share it with my husband. We're currently TTC, but it's great to begin thinking how to teach our fututre children about the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you for your inspiration! :)

Theresa from

Misty said...

I LOVE this post & will be showing this to my husband when he gets home tomorrow.