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Friday, December 11, 2009

crimmas traditions, edition #1

I'm sorry it's way more fun to call it crimmas, since that's what Elias calls it.
He's so ghetto southern in all his words, I love it.

This week I've read a lot of good tradition blogs & and blogs addressing different Santa theories for families. I thought I'd chime our two cents in. I say "our" because my husband directs a lot of our tradition and I really appreciate that. Even things he doesn't totally understand, he'll research and then point us in the right direction for us.

1. So, to begin with. The big question.
To Santa or not to Santa.
I started saying a few years ago that we wouldn't do Santa, and I don't think I had many good reasons. Now, we've firmed up our decision with that and I think I can better explain why.
a. stewardship. We've just gotten to the place where our kids are constantly saying, "mine!". In response, we tell them in quick teaching moments and in long ones, that nothing is ours and that everything is the Lord's given to us to care for. This is how we encourage them to share and how we encourage them to take care of their things, since they are given to us straight from the Lord.

So no toy is only Elias' or only Glory's. We strongly encourage that only Glory play with the princess shoes, but that is another story in itself. Anyhow, it feels too hard with Christmas gifts to say - for this one day, these toys and gifts magically appear and they are all YOURS. I didn't get them for you, the Lord didn't provide them, SANTA DID! For me, I just don't have a good explanation for them when it comes time to share those or steward them well like God's gifts.

b. trust. I've gotten in the habit of asking the kids to trust me when I'm making a decision for them or asking them to obey. Nick and I try to explain that not all people are trust-worthy, but the Lord has given them to us to shepherd and so they can trust us. To even further this, when we sin against them - we usually apologize. I don't want them to think we are sinless or claim to be and I want them to know that when I do something wrong, I will try to make it right if I can. I want them to trust me.

So, again - I just don't have a good answer for how to explain to them after five or so odd years of lying to them that they can still trust me. And ya'll, lying used to be a struggle of mine. I could make up some good stories. I could really go nuts with the whole Santa/cookies/fireplace thing. How do I do that willfully for a few years and then say sorry? And encourage them to do it to their younger siblings?

c. St. Nick
We explain the vast amount of Santas everywhere by talking about St. Nicholas.
But he did anonymous good deeds, so we try to do those as a family too - all year round and especially at Christmas! Lately, most of ours have included baking because I really like to bake, but hate having sugar goods in the house.

d. magic
One argument I hear for Santa a lot is that it makes Christmas magical.
And that kind of makes me frown.
I really think our Christmas is going to be magical this year.
Talking about Jesus, cookies, flying to see family, fires, paper chains, the tree!, lights.
It's totally beautiful as is.
And also, come on - the birth of Christ! If we teach that as an actual historical event isn't that MUCH more magical than a fat, hairy man who wants us to sit on his lap?! Ya'll - there was a star in the sky to mark the birth of our Savior! And He lived a perfect life and we have books and books that recorded what he taught us! And He died for us!
Forget magical, that is life changing.

Ok. Off my soap box.
Apparently, I get a little excited about the magical bit.
And now this has been too long to do other traditions so we'll make those next!

Also, a disclaimer. I think whatever works for your family is great. I was raised on some good old Santa, and I think I'm ok. This plan just happens to line up with our parenting and our new little developing traditions! So, what does your family do?


Nick said...

What a wonderful, well-written master piece. (This is not a fake comment). Stop reading this. Yes you. You are always looking over my shoulder and asking me what I am doing on the internet...YEAH YOU.

Jessi said...

love it. so glad to have a community of families in our lives who think through these things intentionally. the only line i would delete is "i think whatever works for your family is great." maybe b/c i wish santa would POOF...GO AWAY!! i hate that he takes over the birthday of jesus every year. grr.

Jessi said...

hmm...that was kelly, don't know why it says it was jessi.

staci said...

thanks for writing this. i've been thinking about it a lot, just like what we'll do when that time comes, etc. good stuff.

Rachel said...

Can I copy and paste this from your blog to mine??? We also really struggled to explain why we didn't want to 'do' Santa. When I got the St. Nicholas information I knew that was a much better fit for us to be able to teach where the Santa tradition came from and then still do something fun (and I really like the idea of doing anonymous things for others). The part I love best is that it's on Dec. 6 so it's kinda the beginning of our celebrating and no where near when we are celebrating Jesus. And we didn't tell them St. Nick put gifts in there stocking we told them it was their St. Nicholas goodies...but let's face it, do a 3 and 4.5 year old care where their candy came from? Not so much. And now I'm going on and on. The end.

Annie said...

I love this blog. I almost copied a portion of it to paste into my own blog....don't worry I would have given you full creative credit.

suzannah said...

i LOVE this. my daughter is two, so we're just starting to enter this territory. my husband and i are on different pages, but i am with you! compelling post, and i love the stewardship point.

(i just notices your twitter update--i love grocery shopping--without kids!--too. it's like a satsifying puzzle. i'm a freak;)

suzannah said...

ps: go visit the blog a holy experience for an amazing take on christmas gift for thought.

Demi Eliese said...

You guys rock! We raised Alana always telling her Santa was not real and we are celebrating Jesus's birthday. She never thinks anything of it...until she starts spilling the beans at the playground. Eventually, your kids will make other kids cry. LOL