Every year I vow that I will share our Christmas traditions with you and then I get busy and don’t follow through. So although I don’t like discussing Christmas until November I am going ahead and doing it now before life gets busy.
Our traditions have evolved over time, but one thing that was important to us from our first Christmas as parents: we didn’t want Christmas to be a materialistic event. However, we also didn’t want our kids to feel like they were missing out. Finding that balance has taken time and some experimentation.
We have never made a big deal about Santa. All of my kids have known that Santa wasn’t real. Our children have never made a list for Santa and “Santa” has never given our kids gifts. Instead we have tried to create a balance between our beliefs and the more worldly celebrations. We don’t want our kids to feel deprived, but we also don’t want to compromise our values.
Many years ago, we started celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. We read a story about St. Nicholas and they receive stockings on that day.
Since St. Nicholas is remembered for his secret gift-giving, we have always adopted a needy family with children whose ages are close to our kids. Our children participate in playing “Santa” and helping us choose gifts for the family. I also save the box from each pair of shoes we buy during the year to use to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Truly, I think my children have more fun picking gifts for other children than they do when they open their own gifts.
We also have our children help us fill stockings for some of the elderly people in our lives who already have everything they need, but enjoy the surprise and appreciate being remembered.
What are your Christmas traditions?