Now that it’s December I feel like I can finally post something from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Despite the fact I’ve been listening to Christmas music for weeks and that here in Canada it makes sense to start celebrating Christmas earlier than in the States due to Thanksgiving taking place in October, I just felt like I had to wait until American Thanksgiving was over before posting about Christmas! So, here we are. The month of Christmas (and the month of baby!)
I’m all about the traditions when it comes to holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular. I love the experiences and the smells and rituals. Just yesterday we trekked out to Richmond (a 25 minute car ride feels like a trek when virtually everything you need is within a block radius) to go to a tree farm, the kind where they give you a saw and you cut it down yourself. That, to me, is part of experiencing Christmas. As is sipping hot chocolate at night with all the lights out except the sprinkling on the tree, or watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve. I love the gift giving, I love the stockings, I love the food. I love those memories I have, and I desperately want to give that to my kids. I literally want them to get that warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about Christmas. I think it’s so much fun, especially as a kid.
But, inevitably, there’s the tendency and trap of getting all caught up in the extras (namely, the gifts, especially for kids), that it can be really easy to lose sight of why we are celebrating, and what it all is really about. It’s really easy to let the silly stress of what to get who that it can sadly, ruin Christmas. Around the time I was 16 or so, I actually started getting a sinking, sad feeling around Christmas. I think it was because as I was getting older, the gifts weren’t as exciting anymore. All the “stuff” was not as fulfilling as I had hyped it up to be in my head. So, since then, I’ve thought a lot about how to make Christmas about what it’s really about. I think it’s actually pretty simple—having an intentional mindset that is focused on the birth of Christ, and on others. Keeping joy and contentment and relationships in priority over all the things. But, I’d like to be even more intentional in action, something that the kids can see.
So, I’m curious. What do you do to drive home the point to your kids that it’s not all about them? That the gifts are great, the tree and decorations and chocolate are all so much fun and a part of this season—but it’s not the be all and end all if they don’t get exactly what they want? How do you make this season one that is focused on others? Because, let’s be honest, it’s really easy to turn into a brat at Christmas time! Would love to hear your thoughts and traditions and suggestions if you have any:)