christmas traditon: gifts and stockings

this is a re-post from 12.28.2009.  

i've been behind schedule with christmas-related gift making and other obligations that i haven't had a whole lot of time to post.  following up on our jesse tree christmas tradition, i thought i'd re-post the rest of our christmas tradition series this year.  our gift tradition remains the same though the whole santa claus thing is up in the air again this year.  why such a big deal?  i LOATHE lying to my kids, even on something like this.  if we expect them to be honest and upfront with us, then we should respect them enough to do the same for them.  anyway, we're working on finding a balance in our family between the commercialized santa idea and the real santa story...this is probably something to be saved for another post (if i ever get to it!).


 this year we felt convicted to make a change with the way we approach christmas gift giving with our children.  with the christmas holiday highly commercialized in our country (i recall the cvs by our house began selling christmas items in october...gah!), the true meaning of christmas seems to get lost in between all the presents, fancy name-brand items, and the amount of money and stuff advertisements say you have to spend on people to ensure they have the BEST christmas ever.

so this year was it.  enough procrastinating.  enough feeling guilty that our presents may not be "good" enough to give to other people.  enough feeling bad that we didn't get everyone enough stuff (even if it meant racking up more debt).  in reality, the people that truly love us will know that we love them no matter how big or small a gift we give them for christmas (contrary to what marketers will have you believe).  they aren't going to love us any less (i hope!) if our gift is comprised of hugs and kisses or a store bought item.
so our new gift tradition is three-fold.  first, each child receives only 3 gifts (with the exception of our annual pair of winter socks tradition).  one is always something he/she needs and the other 2 are either items they want, wear, read, eat, a handmade item, what have you.  why 3?  the amount symbolizes the amount of gifts Jesus received from the 3 wise men after his birth, and helps bring the whole gift-opening process back to Christ.
second, as a family we purchased a gift to donate as a way to share God's love with others and help us to re-focus on what truly matters.  this year we purchased 3 ducks through world vision, though there are many other  worthwhile local, national and international organizations out there.
third, we have decided to bring back santa claus into our house (when ty discovered the "truth" we stopped the santa tradition).  however, this time around santa is not the bearer of the "ultimate" gift(s).  he is not the guy who brings you the stuff you want on your list, per se.  he leaves behind a little something for the kids to open, but nothing extravagant (emma got a small, wooden puzzle and ty received a metal slinky and batteries) so that he doesn't detract from the purpose of the whole christmas celebration.

and now to our stockings...

our stockings are handmade and personalized by aaron's mom.
when i joined the family i received a stocking of my own, and with each new grand-baby comes a new stocking.  "upgrades" are taken into consideration if you feel your stocking is no longer a valid representation of yourself (e.g ty and aaron).
we also receive an orange in each of our stockings ever year.  this is a tradition passed down from my husband's side of the family.  long ago (i don't know how long), oranges being sold in this area during the winter were very expensive.  so you wait until they're in season.  an orange found in your stocking back in the day was a real treat, because enjoying a fresh orange was a rare occasion during the winter months.


Mama Whimsy said...

We haven't "done" the santa thing here either. We have a couple books with santa in them and we just treat them like we do fairies or any other imaginary character- in the spirit of pretend (afterall, without imagination we wouldn't have amazing authors like C.S. Lewis et al.) I believe in sharing fantasy and developing the imagination, but struggle with treating it as reality (not keen on lying either). I was really surprised when Layla asked to see the Santa at the end of the holiday parade since we never really talked about that aspect with her. While we were in line, we had to explain what usually happens with a santa visit, lol. She changed her mind at the last minute anyway. I found some really good links from others who share a similar philosophy on the subject and will try to share the links with you later (if you want them). I'm really sick today and not feeling up to much computering right now. I like telling the St. Nicholas story as a reference as to the reason behind the gift giving tradition.

Connie Krebs said...

We treat Santa the same way because I hate how commercialized the season has become. What happened to people being nicer during the holidays and everyone having a spirit of giving? Although we don't have religious reasons for doing so we also limit the gifts to only 4 plus the traditional new PJ's that everyone opens on Christmas eve. How funny that we also do an orange in the stocking as well!

Valerie said...

That is such a lovely and meaningful set of traditions!

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