those of you that have been following me for a while remember the article that i posted about how we handle Santa a few years ago. if not, you can check it out HERE. Recently many peeps have been discussing how to incorporate your desires for Christmas with other family members that may feel differently. i love that this has been a question because it means that mommies are not just thinking about their kids and family but wanting to be respectful to how others may choose to approach the holiday. i know i've said it before, but it bears repeating... we do not serve a cookie cutter God. his designs are unique!
that being said, lance and i did have to tread lightly when we chose our route with Santa. we both grew up in homes that celebrated Santa and we wanted to make sure that our parents were not offended by our desire to do this differently. after all, we turned out just fine and were not negatively impacted by the Santa fun that we experienced.
here are a few things to consider:
1. have those conversations EARLY. if you know that you are planning to change up traditions that are common to your family then discuss it early and be sensitive. make sure you and your spouse are on the same page and when communicating your decision use the word "we" instead of "i" or "she" or "he."
2. if you are just beginning your family know that it will be age four or five before the things they are experiencing are making a huge difference. their memory cards aren't storing up just yet so don't get too wrapped up in getting it all perfect right away. this may buy you a few years to ease into what you're hoping for the holidays.
3. many times grandparents don't mind changing things up for your kiddos, but the real situations that arise are with your siblings' families. we had one set of cousins that did celebrate Santa and another that did not. again, communication and respect are your greatest friends. when our families were together we made sure that one of us was within ear shot of conversations. our kiddos were too young to understand and would say any and everything. we had to redirect many conversations, but it wasn't stressful and usually ended up bringing lots of laughs! now that my children are older, they know how to play along or redirect conversations themselves. ages 3 and 4 are usually the hardest because they just say whatever they are thinking.
4. if your parents do want to continue down the Santa path in their home even though you'd rather not... i would not sweat this one. one day of fun, whimsical play will not overshadow the efforts that you make in pointing to Jesus this season. i would also encourage you to bring some of your traditions on the road. read your advent scriptures before you tear into the presents under the tree. bake the bday cake for Jesus on Christmas eve. it doesn't have to be one way or the the other.
5. just as the article that was linked in the previously mentioned post... we do not demonize Santa. use those imaginations and make the holiday season FUN! we still do stockings, elf on the shelf (post to follow), watch Christmas movies, etc. it's all about the conversations! why is this part of the season? Santa is celebrated because he was a GIVER... who is the best gift-giver? what was his best gift? lights are on our homes because we are to be a light in a dark world! we clothe our trees in beautiful ornaments... what are we to clothe ourselves in? you can find a spiritual parallel for everything we do during this season.
UNRELATED SIDE NOTE: still working on the picture issue. seems as though everyone is having this problem and i find it hard to believe that we would all max out our storage in a few short months... i'm skeptical and looking into it. ;)
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