Definitely! Most already know that I have mixed feelings about the Christmas holiday, but there is definitely too much emphasis put on Santa Claus and all that jazz for me. I have heard moms say that they either pay rent or buy Christmas presents. What do they do - buy presents and worry about rent/bills later. What is the point of that??? Then even though I say every year I'm not going to celebrate - I start feeling guilty (internal and external guilt) that I didn't buy presents for anyone. Grrr!
Sadly, I think every holiday has become a marketing blitz for retailers. It's up to US to make sure we don't get bitten by them and keep things close to our homes and our hearts. It is up to us to make sure our kids realize that the holidays are about the holidays and not what they can get out of them.
By creating rituals and traditions of our own, we can keep the holidays and what they mean to us away from all that commercialism, don't you think? By having an annual cookie swap with neighbors or family or by getting together with friends for an intimate dinner, sledding together or taking time out to help those in need, you teach your family, kids in particular, that this season is about being there for others and for giving of yourself more than about what Santa's putting under the tree.
At this time of year, I truly try to avoid stores. I've been shopping on line for a couple of years now or by catalog, and it saves me being bombarded by the commercialism I would otherwise see at the mall or in local department stores. I like that I've found a way to block it out. And I think this is rubbing off on my dd's - neither of them wants to go to the mall for holiday shopping. They'd rather stay local or order things from a catalog. Instead, we bake a lot and create platters of breads and cookies for friends and neighbors. It's heartwarming to see them choose certain cookies for certain people.
By creating rituals and traditions of our own, we can keep the holidays and what they mean to us away from all that commercialism
I completely agree. I am going to discuss Christmas with dh soon so we can decide what we want to do in the future, as our daughter gets older, about traditions and Santa, etc. My thought is to just do stockings from Santa to downplay that aspect. And I try to buy ornaments, wrapping paper, cards, etc., that have a religious theme, rather than Santa and Rudolph and presents and such.
This weekend I went to a historical village that showed Christmas traditions from many cultures in the 1800s. Most of them didn't do any celebrating or decorating until the night of Christmas Eve because Advent should be a time of waiting, not celebrating. I'm thinking about ways to keep that sentiment in mind in the future so my dd understands what the holiday is all about.
Another way that we've kept thing simple is by creating and decorating our own wrapping paper before the holidays. I go buy a huge roll of plain brown or white packing paper and roll it out, give the kids stamps or poster paints and let them decorate it using cookie cutters dipped in the paint. It's cool, unique, lots of fun and then kids loved seeing thier gifts wrapped in paper they decorated. I reserve special store bought paper for Santa's gifts. Of course, my girls are older now, so even though I still do all this, they realize that we're Santa and Mrs Claus now! We also use only a roll of jute or raffia as 'ribbon' = everything looks so natural and homegrown under the tree, it's easy to keep our perspectives.
We also encourage our dd's to 'make' gifts for friends. Last year, my budding pastry chef made homemade peppermint chocolate bark for her friends. She broke it all up and bought colored baggies and tied them with a bow. All her friends came over for hot cocoa and movies and loved it. It was fun for her dd and her friends. This year she is making Hazelnut/chocolate truffles for her friends. One year we made homemade bath salts and found great little cloth bags at the Dollar store to put them in and tied them with a nice bow and instructions for all the girls in the family. Something simple, but from the heart is what matters most. And if others can't see that and have been sucked in to the whole commercial thing, that's thier problem I think, not ours.