Holiday Traditions

Nativity Scene - minus a few wise men

Our twin boys are a year old and I know they don’t understand what Christmas is or traditions or even what presents are for that matter.  They just know that one day when they woke up they saw a big green thing in their living room covered with pretty lights and cool things to take off. Maybe next year they will start to get the idea that Christmas time is a good time of year and they will soon look forward to it coming around year after year.  But I want my kids to look forward to Christmas time because of the holiday traditions and the time spent with family.

Growing up I loved this time of year because we got to spend it with all our family, I only had 1 cousin around my age, the others were 10+ years older than me or 10+ years younger than me.  But I still looked forward to spending time with them – I still do!

Jonathan and I have been trying to think of some holiday traditions to do with our boys every year because those are the things you grow up and remember (hopefully).  I love pulling out the ornaments and trying to remember where we got all of them or who gave them to us.  I hope our boys will enjoy that too, especially the ones that are their very own.

While growing up, Christmas morning was the same year after year.  We would all go wait in my mom and dad’s room while my dad went in and made sure Santa had come and left everything where it was “supposed” to be.  I think he really just went in and went back to sleep on the couch, because it seemed to take FOREVER for him to come back.  Then we would all run to the living room and see what Santa left for us.  We all had our official Christmas morning spot in the room.  Every year we were in the same spot, and its funny because if you were to look in our living room window now on Christmas day, you would still find the 3 of us sitting in the same spot as we did when we were kids.  Some things never change!

I think one of the oddest traditions that I have heard about, and one that I will not be doing with my kids is the “elf on a shelf.”  Have you seen this little dude? He’s just plain creepy. For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about… it’s a little elf that you put on a shelf or anywhere you want and its supposed to be a reminder for kids to be on their best behavior because the elf will tell Santa who has been naughty or nice.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t need a little elf to “watch” my kids and make them think that he is going to go back and tell Santa all about their behavior.  I put the fear of God in them so they behave good all year round — just kidding ;).  Isn’t that just teaching our kids that if they behave, Santa will bring them presents.  They should behave well without the end result being presents. We don’t want to kill the “magic that is Santa” but we don’t want our boys growing up thinking they’ll always be rewarded handsomely just because they behave properly, and on the flip side, if they don’t get exactly what they want – it’s not because they’re being punished for bad behavior.

It’s difficult to fight the mentality that invades this time of year, that Christmas is all about getting the biggest and best gifts.  We always had a great Christmas growing up, we never got the biggest or hottest item that was being sold and we were fine with that (I think that’s because none of us were in to that).  My parents didn’t spend hundreds of dollars per child at Christmas (at least not that I’m aware of ;) ), yet we still had awesome Christmas gifts and loved what we got. I read something the other day that said, on average, parents spend $500-$600 per child at Christmas time. That’s outrageous! Although when we were growing up there wasn’t the XBox, iPhone, iPad, flat screen TV’s, or any of the other 100 electronic devices that are out there now either.  Now days, the wants are greater and the price tags are higher!

I want to make sure my kids know what the meaning of Christmas is and that it’s not all about getting presents. My boys have a book about the Christmas story and one part of it says “We give gifts to each other to celebrate the birth of Christ.”  I don’t want them to grow up thinking that just because its Christmas they are entitled to getting things.  I want to see my boys faces fill with joy and anticipation as they open their presents on Christmas morning because they know we love them and celebrate them.  Not because some guy in a red suit gave them things on their wish list.

Here’s to making Christmas memories and traditions to follow for years to come!

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