Thanksgiving is still a week away but Christmas season is quickly coming. I'm planning cards, photo shoots and contemplating Little Man's 1st Christmas and Ember's 2nd. And that has me musing on the darker side of the joyful season- waste, greed and losing sight of what truly matters. Considering this, I asked myself- What Do I Want Christmas To Be For Little Man? The answer that immediately came to me is FUN. I want it to be a fun holiday. Not just the two days of it but a whole month of fun. Baking cookies, walking around to look at lights, doing crafts.... Obviously Little Man won't be doing too much celebrating this year at not quite four months old when it rolls around, but we want to start our own family traditions off well.
Obviously, you can't just avoid the Santa myth/lie in America. So really it comes to deciding how to present it. The legend of Santa is fine to me. It's a fun story. But we won't be presenting it to Little Man as anything but a fun story. We don't want to lie to him after all, so why would we lie to him repeatedly for years? So we'll do the traditional annual Santa picture... with him being told it's just dress-up to be fun. Maybe we'll bring him to two different malls the same day to help him understand it's just men dressing up. And we'll read him stories about Christmas, in the same way we'll read plenty of children's fiction to him. We'll tell him the legend of St. Nicholas. We'll tell him how people can "play the Santa game" when giving presents. And we will encourage him to be empathic and not crush other kid's belief. But we won't lie to him about it, ever.
What about presents? Kids need toys and stuff and since they need age-appropriate toys at that, Christmas and their birthday makes convenient times to "upgrade" as they grow. But we don't want the focus of Christmas (or birthdays) to be on presents. Like I said before, we want it to be on fun and family. I would rather us upgrade gradually over the year, giving surprises "for no reason" every now and then. Young kids are often over-whelmed by a ton of new toys at one time anyway. It's not that we don't want to give him any presents at Christmas, just not an overload of them. So we'll still give him just as much, but spread out. I don't think that detracts from the fun of Christmas, rather it just ensures nice surprises often throughout the year.
Having too many decorations that are only used for a month out of the year seems wasteful. And space-consuming. And quick possibly, toxic. So we'll have meaningful decorations that aren't toxin-soaked and try to keep from going over the top with the sheer amount. Less can be more when more thought goes into it. And wrapping paper? Loads of paper used for a few days and then tossed. Ugh, that's some consumption there. I think the traditional stocking, and the Aussie tradition of Santa sacks is a better option.
Family is one of the aspects of the Christmas season we want to focus on. And not just our nuclear family but our large extended family. We are closely surrounded by a nice chunk of my family, though DH's is out of state. Now none of my family is crunchy or green. My mom and grandmother humor me decently so far, though they do not buy in at all. I can only hope reaching understanding when it comes to our idea of Christmas for Little Man goes as smoothly as possible. Because obviously they'll be a big part of the season for him and us and we want it that way. As long as it doesn't seem to interfere with the spirit of focusing on fun and family and they take in consideration our decision to limit toxins and electronic toys, we don't want to limit what others give him out of love. Maybe we can have particular sacks for presents from each of his main relatives like Nana and Nonnie to include them in this eco-friendly option.
Simplicity and moderation are our choice for the Christmas season. I can't wait to finally celebrate with a baby of ours here. We'll include Ember in the holidays as well as everyday always, but Little Man puts the joy back in.
Now, what about those Christmas trees? Is having a real Christmas tree a support of local farmers? Or a waste of a tree? And what are the fake trees made of anyway? How many toxins would be brought into your home by one of those?