My husband and I both grew up in households that celebrated Christmas, although, technically, neither one of us are Christian! But, let’s face it, no matter what your religion is, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to avoid Christmas. I mean, unless you live a cave or in a non-Western country, you’re not going to be able to escape. For us, Christmas is fun and lighthearted! We ‘do‘ Christmas in the sense that we talk about it openly and honestly. We do presents. We talk about Jesus. We have a very VERY small Christmas tree and my kids and I do Christmas craft and all that stuff. The one thing that I am adamant about though, is keeping Christmas within the realm of sanity.
Honesty About Presents
Gifts for kids can be inexpensive and small, and still be exciting. It’s not the presents that the kids care about, but the joy in the act of receiving and giving, that they really love. We never promise presents in return for good behavior. Nor do we threaten that Santa won’t bring presents if the behavior isn’t so good. Gifts are never contingent on behavior.
Honesty Towards the Environment
When I look at a toy, or something I want to buy for my kids, I ask myself, “Where will this thing be in six months? Where will it be in one year?” If the answer is, “In the trash“, then I reconsider whether it’s something I really want to buy. Same thing goes for wrapping paper and gift bags. Is there something around the house that I can use, like fabric, or some old paintings of the kids? Aside from being more meaningful to use upcycled gift wrapping, it’s much better for the our planet.
Honesty About Santa
Young children, say under the age of 7 or 8, have a very hard time understanding what things are real and what things are fake. Fairies, witches, ghosts, goblins, the Easter bunny and SANTA CLAUS can be very scary and/or create a lot of confusion in young children. As fun as it would be to go on pretending that Santa is real, we tell our kids that Santa can be anyone dressed up in a red suit and a beard. They like to know this! They still ‘believe‘ in Santa. They still get a kick out of seeing Santa. Yet, they know that Santa is just another person. Actually, my little one is 2 and she doesn’t get this concept yet. She is still very wary when she sees someone dressed up like Santa and we’re happy to let her wave to him from a distance. My 4 1/2 year old, on the other hand, has just asked this year, to get her photo taken with Santa. Every other year, she was too scared. And, I’m definitely not into pictures of crying kids sitting on Santa’s lap. It’s NOT funny! It’s terrifying for a young child to be forced onto Santa’s lap.
Honesty Towards Your Wallet
It’s.one.day. I know some people who max out the credit cards or save their money all year just to buy Christmas presents. Or, they start shopping ten months before Christmas. Be kind to yourself. Be realistic. If you have millions of dollars and you want to go nuts for Christmas, by all means, do so! Christmas doesn’t have to be about spending all of your money. You can buy second hand, hand made gifts, or even do gift swaps (this is especially great for people with kids because kids get tired of the same toys).
Honesty About Jesus
For every hundred or thousand Christmas tree decorations and snow flake ornaments, we may see ONE nativity scene. ONE! Such a shame… I mean, Christmas is, after all, Jesus’s birthday. It’s a bit embarrassing to think about how carried away we all get with the presents and the decorations. My kids love the nativity scenes and always run up to them and ask all about it. Being honest about Jesus is especially important to me because we’re not Christian! Leaving Jesus out of Christmas seems like a really big insult to Christianity, so I always remind my kids of the ‘reason for the season‘.
Honesty Towards Other People’s Feelings
Christmas is supposed to be about love and compassion… yet, go to any shopping center and see if you find that? People frantically rushing around pushing each other over, beeping their horns at each other for parking spots and yelling at their children or fighting with their spouses. It’s such a stressful time and for what?! What’s really important about any holiday? Is it the presents, the food, the rituals, and the decorations? Or, is it the feeling and the vibe that you put off around you. Everything could look perfect on the outside, the table can be dressed, the tree can look perfect, the presents can be all wrapped and ready to go… But, if you’ve been stressed and fighting with everyone to get to that point, was it really worth it? I remember some years, my parents wouldn’t even wrap our presents, and guess what, it was still just as fun!
Honestly… It’s Just ONE Day! One day! Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Then, it really will be a fantastic holiday season.