Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Claus and all that Jazz!

Santa Claus
When I was growing up my family attended church every Sunday. We knew that Christmas was all about the birth of Jesus Christ. We were celebrating HIS birth. We were also told about Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas). We made our wish list, wrote our letters to Santa, baked cookies and left out milk for Santa.

I don’t exactly remember when I stopped believing in Santa, but with three older siblings I am sure that I wasn’t too old before the secret was out of the box. I don’t really remember being devastated by this realization. I think that it was broken down to me in a way that made me feel special, like I was being let in on a secret. I still had a younger sibling who believed in Santa so the family holiday traditions kept right on going.  I happen to like my family traditions.

When I got married I worried that I would have to give up my favorite traditions. Then I read somewhere this idea that really struck home with me. It was essentially my ah ha moment for happy holidays as a married couple. I wish I could remember where I read this; because it truly gave me perspective and I would love to give credit where credit is due. But alas, I cannot. So I will simply share how it came about.

·    Make a list of all of the holidays you celebrate.
·    Underneath each holiday make a list all of your holiday traditions (Do you go to church? Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve?  Do you open gifts on Christmas morning? Do you open gifts at the same time or take turns? Do you have a large dinner with family?  Do you take in a movie?)
·    Have your significant other complete their own holiday tradition list.
·    Sit down and discuss your lists (talk about which traditions you love and WHY you love them).
·    Make a list of all of the holidays you celebrate.
·    Underneath each holiday make a list of the holiday traditions you want to continue as a couple (remember this is not set in stone and can be changed as your family grows). Take turns picking traditions. Each person should have a voice.

We made our lists. We discussed our traditions. We even added new traditions of our own. We usually split the holidays between families. One family gets us for one holiday; the other family gets us for the next holiday.  So far this system has worked wonderfully. This year things are changing! We now have two children and have begun to re-evaluate how we spend our Christmas. We are staying home on Christmas day so that the kids get to enjoy their Christmas without having to rush off anywhere and leave all their new stuff and so mom and dad do not have to cart presents from one place to another an back again! This year we have started some new activities that will hopefully turn into family traditions.

We introduced the idea of Santa to the boys this year. We talked about who Santa is and what he does. We went to a special breakfast with Santa event and had the opportunity to tell Santa what we wanted for Christmas. We wrote a letter to Santa informing him of our good behavior and our big ticket items on our wish lists. We rode the Polar Express and had hot cocoa for the first time ever. We even received our very own elf! It is a big year of first time traditions for my family and we are loving every minute of it.

Sitting on Santa's Lap

Santa Claus

I love the idea of Santa and am especially excited to be starting this tradition with my own children. A mystery man that somehow knows if you have been naughty or nice and plans presents accordingly. I love the idea of Santa even more now that I am a mom. Being able to play the Santa card in order to correct inappropriate behavior is fantastic! I am planning on keeping the whole milk and cookies for Santa bit, because after all the holiday madness mama needs a treat or two.

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition? Something old? Something new? As always, feel free to leave a comment and share.

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