making peace with santa…..

making peace with santa

 

I've actually been wanting to share a bit about how we celebrate our Christmas for a few years now. I always worry about stepping on toes and such. Because you know, the holiday season can be a very delicate subject in many ways. I don't think the way we do it is the only way, but I always think sharing can inspire others looking for a way to create their own traditions.

So with a bit of courage, I give you this… how we made peace with Santa.

 

making peace with santa

 

I clearly remember our young family living on a very tiny salary trying to scrape pennies to make Christmas happen. The kids writing or drawing huge Christmas lists. The guilt involved in trying to live within our means and pull off what we thought Christmas should be. (aka, buy a bunch of crap). Joe & I hated it. It ruined the whole holiday season for us. The thing we loved most about the holidays was always time spent together, good food, slowing down, making simple gifts.

One year we watched the kids open their only gift "from us" and bit our tongues as good old St. Nick got all the credit (again). As much as we struggled with holiday gifting, we loved the magic of Santa. As we watched Rudolph the last time that season, a light bulb went on in my head. In all the old stories and movies, Santa filled stockings. Not with extravagant gifts either, simple thoughtful ones. Joe & I decided from then on, we'd ask Santa to do the same for our family. 

 

making peace with santa

 

making peace with santa

 

The next year I worried so much that our seven & five year old would be disappointed with this simpler holiday, with less Santa craze. This might seem trivial to some, I know. But it's honest. It's difficult to change how things have always been, to change traditions. And you know? The kids didn't even notice. Over the years, the wish lists have sort of disappeared from our holiday. The kids know Santa won't be bringing them ponies or computers. After all, a pony won't fit in a stocking and Santa doesn't do electronics. We do our best to stick to a four gift rule. Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. Much of this can be thrifted or made. Some of it is purchased. They always get a new book to celebrate solstice, most years they get pajamas too. There is always a bit of something they need in their stocking (art supplies, bath goodies, etc) along with some yummy treats. And they each get a simple "want" as their one Christmas gift from us. To some of you, this might still seem like a lot…. to others it might seem like not enough. For us, it's just right. 

 

making peace with santa

 

We try our best to balance our simple living, non-consumer holiday values with the celebrating. We try to focus on the gathering, giving, and spiritual parts of the holiday in a way that resonates with our family. I still wonder sometimes if we're doing it right. We kind of make things up and evolve as we go along. But when I doubt this different path we've chosen… I pause, and look at our kids. This simple holiday they've come to know is loved by each of them, it is most certainly enough. They're more excited about making peppermint bark and granola for friends than making wish lists. (ditching tv helps this immensely, but that's a whole other blog post) It doesn't mean that the little ones don't ask for something crazy now and then. They totally do. But we play up on the idea that we never know what Santa might bring, and that anything tucked into a stocking is something special. (and no, a go-cart will not fit in your stocking!)

 

making peace with santa

 

The best part though, is being able to truly love that man in red again. Getting caught up in the mystery and magic…. and believing right along with the young people in my life.

 

23 thoughts on “making peace with santa…..

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your words. It’s the anticipation and preparation of it all that creates the real magic. Baking and twinkling lights, carols in the dark and candlelight evenings, hot cocoa and stringing popcorn. It’s the simple times of just being together. I’m sure your kids feel it deep within their hearts just the sort of connection and experience you and Joe have worked to create.

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  2. We too enjoy the simple side of Christmas and love it. My little man has never known any different. We actually don’t do Santa at all, instead we enjoy the magic of the holiday throughout the season as a family doing special things together. We give him handmade gifts (this year a kitchen and a knitted vest) and then his stocking includes books and craft supplies. We love the simplicity of it. It works for us.

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  3. Yes to the believing! This Christmas (and all the holidays of this past year – birthdays, etc.) I’ve toned everything down and it’s be such a delight. A few nights ago, my brother and I took a homeless person to dinner with us (my brother’s doing, I admit, I wouldn’t have done that on my own) and his presence really put life in perspective for me. We are already so blessed with gifts. This was a really great post. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. very beautiful. we don’t “do” santa in the traditional sense. st nick comes on the 6th, but the kids know he is not really doing it, they know the story and we share the love of magic and giving and wishing. i don’t think it takes away the magic just because santa isn’t real, the spirit is what is most important, the caring, love and giving to each other.

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  5. Wonderful ideas here, thanks for sharing! My little one is still too young to get that anything different is happening, so we don’t really do anything right now. But I find myself thinking about what we will do when the time comes. I love your four gift idea, and I love the Santa/stocking idea. I’m going to keep those in my back pocket for the years to come!

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  6. We don’t do Santa at all. I’ve discussed it at length on my blog. But we do focus on solstice and lots of celebrations based in nature. This year at S’s request we will be doin stockings for Xmas, filled by me and she knows that. I’m in the same boat of simple, family, homemade, good food!

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  7. our traditions weave a less consumer driven christmas celebration, (stockings, something similar to your 4 things as gifts, yummy food traditions, gift making, music traditions, seeing family and honouring their needs too) and solstice and a little waldorf. it is a blend that makes a delightful december, and brings us together outdoors alot, and passes the time with lots of things to do, none of it hurried, just tradition for the time of year. creating our own unique mix, means that i embrace many aspects and value other’s choices as well. your celebrations seem to nourish you and that is the spirit we all seek i think ..

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing. We are at that stage where our little one is just understanding the concept of “Santa” and these ideas are very helpful to a family striving for a meaningful, simple holiday. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  9. love this. our gifts seem to be on the lean side compared to most people i know but my kids still love and enjoy it. “santa” always brings stocking stuffers (like yours, art supplies, lip balm, etc), a book, a toy. we give them each one toy. it works for us!

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