Sunday, December 16, 2012

Taking Back Christmas

I've always known that I wanted Christmas to stand out to my kids. I want them to believe in the REAL miracle, not sell them a fake one. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that Santa is of the devil or anything. I grew up with Santa, and I LOVED every bit of it. My mom is a thoughtful giver, I honestly don't think she could help herself! 

I also didn't have a problem trusting my parents later in life, at least I don't think so, ha! Still, I find it strange that as Christians, we spend so much time, money and effort building up a lie about Christmas when we could be spending all that energy building up the truth!

Now that my children are old enough to notice, it's getting harder and harder to be intentional. I recently read this blog post which helped me re-prioritize and make a plan for how our family will celebrate this season year after year. Because I am a giver (like my mom!), I already bought too much stuff for the boys. None of it was expensive, in fact much of it is thrifted (even the brand new packages of Color Wonder I found at Goodwill!). Still, I'm afraid it's the amount of stuff that will cloud the beautiful picture of our God coming down to our level to save us. It's important to me that we celebrate the truth, yes with gifts but always with the focus of Christ.

Dan and I have talked a lot about what kind of traditions we want to have with our little family. Neither of us are sentimental, so we struggle with sticking to the same plan every year. Still, there are things we find important and so will strive to do them each year, in hopes that Christ will be communicated to our children, not greed and a made up character.

From now on, we will at least do the following:

- Advent reading schedule with our Jesus Storybook Bible
- The 4 presents rule from the above blog post: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. (all the extras I bought this year will be saved until birthdays)
- Stockings are reserved for stickers, glow sticks, oranges and tooth brushes. No big gift cards or loaded with chocolate.
- Christmas tree bought from boy scout troop lot (this one is Dan's new tradition)
- Enjoy EVENT traditions (decorating tree, driving around looking at Christmas lights, volunteering, singing carols, etc.)
-Give a family gift through Compassion's Gift Catalog

If you'd like to educate your child on the history of Santa Claus, the real St. Nicholas and other Christmas traditions, I recommend these short videos through the History channel.

What traditions do you keep each year with your family? Advent calendars? Jesse trees? Countdowns? I am open to suggestions and ideas. There are so many good ones out there!!


  1. We are doing advent readings with the Jesus Storybook Bible and it's been awesome. I feel like our kids are actually getting it now. We typically go small for Christmas but I did get a little crazy this year. I'm thinking of weeding through and saving some stuff for birthdays because I don't want to overwhelm them.

    We're also trying to focus Friday nights and Wednesday nights to be family nights. We watch Christmas movies or we go see Christmas lights or do something holiday related with just the six of us. It's been a wonderful way to keep us all connected and focus on the family aspect of the holidays.

    1. I love saving two nights a week for family nights! Refocusing is so important. We had a family date tonight and it was so special!! I can't wait to watch all the funny Christmas movies when the boys are older.

  2. This year we are starting a new tradition. I bought a set of Nativity ornaments which we put on the tree when we decorated. I kept Baby Jesus out, though. Christmas morning I'll hide him on the tree and the first thing my girls (5 and 2) will do is find Jesus. The plan is to then thank God for sending Jesus as the best present the world could ever have before we open our presents. The child to find Jesus gets to be the first to unwrap a present. (We only have 2 presents for each of them this year, partly because I don't like all the materialism and partly because we stick tight to our budget. Besides, the presents at G&G's make up for our scarcity! lol.)

    1. Oh my goodness, cute idea! Maybe we'll hide our little Jesus in the house somewhere for the boys to find on Christmas morning :)

  3. I love the hiding baby Jesus idea, my kids love to play hide and find. The would love elf on a shelf but I will save my thoughts on that creepy little elf for my own blog. Anyway, we are really enjoying the Jesse Tree Advent this year (although with moving we are doing a "jesse wreath" that hangs on our bedroom door. We also got the 2002 version of the playmobil nativity that was both affordable and had a little diversity in it. They have not played with that recently, but really enjoyed it for a couple weeks and I suspect will get back into it in the next couple days--my kids go big, take a break, go big again!. For presents we bought 1 big present for each kid. If our budget allows we will get them new jammies for Christmas Eve. And they will get a stocking with stuff from the dollar bin and little or no candy in it (they get so much candy all the time from EVERYWHERE!). We also did a lego advent calendar for Áine but that was mainly because she is really getting into legos so I wanted something that challenged her to look at a final product and figure out how to build it with what she has and those things are just basic 4-10 step projects--I am not sure we will do lego advent every year, they are expensive so it will really depend on how big of a lego family we become, which right now it's looking like in a couple years that's all we are gonna have around here! And I'm okay with that, I love legos!

    We also do Angel tree every year and let the kids pick out some canned food to donate. I want to do the compassion gift but that may be something we start next year and throughout this year we may have the kids start getting more involved in praying for and writing to the child we support. I also love the shoe box project, I love that as a kid and may have the kids do that next year.

    In our house Santa is someone you go get a picture with because mama wants one! But, he is a guy dressed up to look like St. Nicolas and when we see Santa he is a reminder to us to be generous because what we know of St. Nicolas who lived long ago was that he was generous. They can have fun with Santa and watch movies, but there won't be gifts coming from Santa under our tree.

    You should read this written by my friend:

  4. This is fantastic! My little one isn't old enough to understand this yet, but I"m in the same boat as you: grew up loving the "fake" Christmas and forgetting the real miracle. I love that you've set guidelines for gift-giving. Fantastic.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas - I"m you're newest follow from Lauren and Lauren's recommendation. Follow me back and we'll be friends!