Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Wish Lists and Keeping it Real

This year, I have gotten more questions than last about the whole Santa thing.
"Does Santa really fly, Mom?"
"What does he do if there's no snow?"
"How does he get into our house?"
"Maybe he gets on an airplane to deliver presents to Alaska."

This year, I have stamped and addressed an envelope to Santa Claus, North Pole.
Dean asked Connor if he could see the list before Connor mailed it.  Connor said, "Nope, you have to wait until Christmas to see!" 
Thankfully, he asked me twice how to spell each word and rewrote his letter three times, so I have it memorized. Unfortunately, his list had five items on it, and the gift I've already gotten him is not on his list.

Last year was easy, they talked about what they wanted, and they each got something they had mentioned.  And they were young enough to not be overly influenced by school peers. This year, they've scoured the Walmart and Target toy catalogs for hours and their wish lists have grown. Eeep!  We wish they wouldn't make wish lists.  Then it feels like we have to go out and buy more than we had planned. As parents, its easy for us to want to give our kids everything they wish for. But by giving them everything they want, are we then failing to give them something more important?

I don't want to over-do Christmas.  I don't want our Holiday to be all about the biggest and best toys.

This year, I'd like my kids to really know and believe what Christmas is.
It is hard to teach them when Christmas has become so commercialized.  Don't get me wrong, I love to shop for gifts, put up a tree, and hang a wreath on our front door, just like millions of other Americans.  But the ads make you believe that you have to get your loved one the biggest sparkling diamonds to let her know she's loved, and your kids the latest new toy. The kids in school talk in awe about the new gadgets and electronic toys that they have/need.  Thank goodness we don't have the television to further expand my kids' wish lists and ideas of what the day means.  For many, December means hustle bustle and stress, and January means debt.

This year, we planned on giving each of our kids one larger gift, then a few trinkets for the stockings. That's it.
Or that was our plan anyway, until Connor mailed his letter.  It is hard to see our children disappointed.  I am struggling over what to do about gifts. I feel that this lesson, what Christmas really is, is one of the more important lessons I need to teach my children.  Can they learn this lesson while getting their wishes too?

I want our Christmas to be real.  I want Christmas to be another Thanksgiving - time spent with family being thankful for the blessings we have (that do not include toys) as well as remembering the first Christmas so long ago.  I want Christmas to be about the birth of Jesus, and what that means to us.

How do you keep it real in your household?


  1. I'm voting for adding one little thing off the wish list. As for "keeping it real" perhaps start a whole new tradition while they are still young. We have a Christmas tree at work that is filled with angels. One family had children who are asking for things like a blanket and pajamas. Pick one angel off a tree somewhere and, together with the kids, work at fulfilling someone else's Christmas wishes. The small ones, not a new DS or game system. Not a snowboard, mine aren't ever going to get one of those unless I find one at a garage sale. I am another one who doesn't want Christmas to be about big "things". It rather drives me crazy. Start a tradition of hand making Christmas gifts. Use their wonderful little talents and make some special gifts. Let it be a season of celebrating what Christmas is all about. A season of enjoying the festivities, the caroling, the hot cocoa, the love of family and friends. With a little bit of the frenzy thrown in for good measure.

  2. What a good idea to do the angel tree. I've thought about it before, but I'll let the kids do the choosing. (and a DSi was on his wish list! thought nope to that one) Especially when the holidays roll around, I wish we lived closer, Anita!