Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Of Christmas and Santa
One tradition that I want to start is for my children to give, as in physically hand gifts that they're giving to their siblings. I just feel like it would place more emphasis on Christmas being more about bringing good things to other people than just a random pile of packages under the tree. While reading popular mommy-blog DesignMom the other day, I came across an excellent suggestion for gifts from Santa: one thing to wear, one thing to read, one thing to play with. This has helped her avoid Christmas buying overload.
So I sent the suggestion to Michael, and he really liked everything except for the Santa part. Which makes me wonder: how will we handle Santa in our house? I don't want to write him out completely, because I think the whole will he/won't he come was part of Christmas fun for me when I was little. How Dad made us all sit on the stairs while he went down to "check" and make sure Santa wasn't still there. By the way, you REALLY took your time with that, DAD. Sitting on those stairs was agony. But then seeing that there were new presents under the tree was pretty magical, and I don't want Jane to miss out on that sense of wonder. However, I also don't want to overemphasize Santa. I think Michael doesn't really appreciate that a fictional being is taking credit for things that he certainly didn't do. We also don't want family gifts to get lost in the mix.
One other problem is "breaking it" to the kids (you know... about Santa). When? How? Do they just figure it out? Does it break their hearts? Should I try to make sure that they understand the truth from the start? I think I have more anxiety when I imagine telling a kid about Santa than I do about explaining the birds and the bees.
I think the "one thing to wear, one thing to read, one thing to play with" rule will do perfectly this year for Jane on the whole. Cute little babies don't really need much more than that, and I'm sure the wrapping will be much more exciting than anything inside. I'm even thinking about wrapping a couple of empty boxes for her to go to town with, but some part of my brain tells me that's cruel. Like she'll be sitting in therapy one day going, "And do you want to know how sick my mom was? She wrapped EMPTY boxes for me at Christmas."
What about you? Do you have any "rules" when it comes to buying gifts for your kids? Any good suggestions for the Santa situation?