I love that scene in the Grinch movie where all of the people of Whoville are running amuck shopping, decorating, eating, singing, and damn near knocking each other over when they hear about a discount nearby. Cindy Lou Who looks up at her father and says, "Isn't this a little much?"
Can you relate?
I have never wanted Christmas to be about the presents and I've always tried to extend the hoy of the season and the magic through experiences over material things (and greed). The greed and the "gimme gimme gimme" mentality can be avoided if you make a conscious effort each season. Here are my tips:
#1: No Christmas Lists
I have never told my kids to write a Christmas list for Santa or tell Santa what they want. Te operative word here being "want". They have; however, written letters to Santa that include drawings, greetings and stories. Instead, we say things like, "that's something Santa may keep in mind for you this year" when they're browsing a toy store or "I wonder what the elves are making in the shop to surprise you with"
#2: Santa has never been "real"
I explained Santa as the sprit of Christmas. The magic of the season in our mind and in our hearts represented by a man in a red suit with a white beard. "Oh how we love when Santa surprises us with magic and joy each Christmas" and so on, but I've never tried to convince them he's a real physical being. The north pole, the reindeer, the elves are always discussed in the same voice as when we discuss the light fairies entering the room from our prism outside, or the water fairy that escaped the bathtub and made a mess on the floor. Its all in fun and sparks imagination, but never in deceit.
#3: Santa Bag over commercial boxes
I have one request from gift givers in my home and its too unbox the gift and wrap it in a plain box, bag, or tie a giant bow around it. I seek to create separation from the toy bought commercial goods and the thoughtful gifts given by friends, family and "Santa" (ie the spirit of Christmas
#4: Focus on Experiences
Christmas in our home starts with decorating the tree and the home together. We often have Christmas music playing, popcorn and hot cocoa and we delight in the unboxing of all the fun things we've collected over the years. We visit the library and check out books about Snow, penguins, polar bears, winter, moons, and Christmas! The best books are those by Elsa Beskow, Jan Brett and Astrid Lindgren.
We make a paper chain of red and green to count down the days, but I would like to move towards having an advent spiral in the home next year and an advent ring on the table with candles.
We make note of special events at school, or in the community, and around our home on the calendar to include tree lighting, caroling, Christmas parties, train rides, Christmas markets, parades, and shows and make reservations to attend.
Part of the joy of the season is the anticipation of the upcoming event, the planning, but most importantly the nostalgia experienced each year through the sights and sounds of the most magical time of the year.
My children will be spoiled by gifts by others in their life and I won't have much control over the gluttony of gifts or treats experienced when they're away from me, but I know in my heart of hearts, that my boys will always know Christmas with mom was magic and never about the presents as much as it was about imagination, joy, compassion, and togetherness!
Tis the season to find joy together,
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play