Thursday, October 29, 2009

Skipping Christmas

Okay, I don't really want to skip Christmas. It is just that I have been thinking about and pondering a solution to how to tone down Christmas. And as I think about such things, that book by John Grisham comes to mind.

It isn't that I dislike Christmas...quite the contrary! Actually, Christmas is my favorite holiday. Of course, it is the celebration of our Savior's birth. Without that, my eternity would be uncertain. I also have such fond memories from my childhood, sugar cookies baking in my grandmother's kitchen, visiting with cousins I only got to see once or twice a year, reading the Bible story of the first Christmas before opening presents, not being able to sleep Christmas Eve night in eager anticipation.

Even now, around the day after Thanksgiving, my fingers itch to get out our holiday decorations (I just cannot do it earlier than that). I like to see the Christmas tree coming together, decorated with ornaments from my own childhood as well as the ornaments my children receive or make each year. I tear up every time I hear "O Holy Night", my favorite holiday carol. I try to instill some of my own childhood traditions for my family such as the reading of the first Christmas and making and decorating Christmas cookies together, as well as creating my own (like the Christmas books we wrap each year).

This year though I am considering how we can tone Christmas down a bit. Not Christmas itself, but the gift giving.

It isn't so much the money, though that is a factor too. It is the stuff. We have too much stuff. We have six people in our house, two girls in one room overflowing with stuff. And though they like to play, they typically only play with certain things, while other things sit on the shelves collecting dust.

Some have suggested getting rid of "stuff", and we do that frequently. We really do. But there is still a lot of stuff.

And by the time you get to the little ones, honestly, there are very few "needs" or even "wants"....(the older ones however will always have a long list of wants...they are the pioneers after all :)

Let me say that I LOVE gifts. Receiving gifts is one of my love languages. I wouldn't consider myself materialistic, I just love the surprise and the idea of someone loving me enough to gift me with something. That also means I love GIVING gifts. I take delight in trying to find "just the right thing" and seeing the joy when gifts are opened. One of our children is falling right in my footsteps on that.

So my dilemma this year is how to tone down Christmas a bit but still keep the magic. I asked for suggestions on Facebook and received some wonderful ideas. The problem is we already do some of it (we do participate in various giving projects). The other problem is the "magic". The "magic of Santa". Santa has been visiting our house for 10 years. He has established a very high standard for gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. I am trying to decide how we can ask Santa to "tone that down" a bit while keeping the magic alive. It would be one thing for me to say, "Hey, this year we are going to do some things differently". However, that guy at the North Pole...well, how does HE say that but still keep a twinkle in the kids' eyes?

Suggestions? :)



  1. Lily thinks that we have a direct number to the North Pole. In fact, we tell her that Santa calls to check in on her. Maybe you could tell them that Santa called and asked that they collect the toys that they aren't playing with and take them to donate.

    Or instead of calling, Santa could send a letter in the mail just addressed to the kids. It could detail instructions. Santa could ask them to donate their toys, and also at the same time tell them that this year they will still get presents but it is going to be more about family. Have Santa ask them to really think or just a few things that they want. Even have Santa ask them to come up with some new traditions for the family to do on Christmas. Include some Santa magic like special paper, for them to draw out their ideas.

    The other idea I have seen from budget boards is to make a want, need, wear, and read list for each one. Then buy just one item for each of these. I really like the idea of this, but maybe for older kids. We like you want to keep the magic of Santa for as long as possible.

    Hope these helps!


  2. Hmm... don't have any advice here! Sorry! I'm excited to hear what you decide to do though - you're so creative I'm sure you'll think of something brilliant!


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