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For those of you who don't do Santa Claus for Christmas how is your Christmas like?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

This is our first year that our kids are a little old to understand Christmas and yet still young to not care much. Dh and I decided to keep it simple with them each getting one toy and a few things in their stockings. Also we're going through a very hard time financially right now so we have to keep it simple. 

 

Anyway we're Christians and we want Christmas to be more Christ like in our family. We're thinking about donating some things that we don't need and when our kids are older then maybe volunteering to serve food at our local shelter. So we're just not sure where with all of this the whole Santa Claus thing comes in. I also think that Santa Claus is too commercialized nowadays imho and we're a tv-free family and definitely don't want them to get the wrong idea about Christmas from the media.

 

So I'm just wondering for those of you who don't do the whole Santa Claus, how do you keep Christmas simple, and what do you do? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. TIA

 

ETA: Sorry if this has been asked before, I couldn't find anything on it 

post #2 of 12

Our Christmas is pleasant, reasonably simple, and Jesus-oriented, with a good dose of awesome family time. :)

 

We skip Santa because dh absolutely cannot stand the mythology of Santa taking pre-eminence over Jesus.  He is not American, and it is very hard for him to even run with it as a "game".  It just icks him out completely.  So no Santa here.  If the subject comes up with the kids, I remind them that it's a "game" and that there was a real Nicholas (bishop of Myrna) who was said to be a very generous man, but that the story doesn't really relate to Christmas, and people picked it up and added on to it and legendized it over many years.

 

I do some decorating (minimal)--it is a compromise between me and dh.  He would prefer nothing, I would prefer lights all over the place.  We eat yummy food. :)  We participate in church activities throughout December--our kids have done the choir/Christmas program at church every year, once they turn 4 yo.  This year I am so happy because they are doing 3 very traditional Christmas carols, and learning all the words. The theology of those songs gets missed because we so often hear only the first verse, and we hear them in the background so much we tend to tune them out. We go to church whenever there is anything going on, and if the church doesn't do a Christmas Eve service, we find another local church to attend.  This year our church is doing Christmas Eve as well as Christmas morning services, and we will attend both.    I found a great devotional/Jesse tree, and we have an advent calendar that is the scene in Bethlehem at the stable, so through the month of December we have daily reminders of the reason we are celebrating.

 

On Christmas day we will go spend the afternoon with my family (dh's family is not here), have a nice big meal, sing carols, and exchange gifts.  The gifts are from *us* rather than Santa.  Nothing big.  We like to go for small and thoughtful, and often homemade.

post #3 of 12

We have never done santa and we're not Christian, but there's still a lot of fun for xmas here.  For us, it's about showering our kids with gifts (I can't help it, I just plain love the planning, buying/making, excitement and watching them open, I didn't really have that as a kid and it's so fun!), treats (love making some homemade yummy for b'fast for munching on while they open their gifts  --  they bring their stockings into the bedroom and we all sit in bed and see what's in there, then they have to wait to open the gifts under the tree while I make sweet bread or cinnamon rolls or something), and fun (last year the kids had a blast with a ten dollar tent from IKEA that we had set up for them in the living room, I think we'll bring it out again this year; then, we lie around while they play until they get bored or stir crazy and we'll take them to the park if it's nice enough out, or to the movies if its not).  Mostly it's a full day where the focus is on each other and having fun.  I don't make a big xmas meal, but I have yummy snacky stuff around so it's just play, eat when you're hungry, relax, no stress.

 

This year, though, we are also pretty broke.  I'm working up the courage to ask my mother to send each of them something special that will be under the tree on xmas morning (she tends to get her gifts out a few days after, lol).  And then I am pretty sure I'll be purchasing just about all of the gifts from us.  Last year I made A and awesome play kitchen, but I ended up spending way more on it than I would have if I'd just bought it.  That's how crafting seems to go for me.  So, I will probably make them each a bamboo velour hoodie from fabric I've already got here and maybe an outfit, too.  But I don't think they really want to find a bunch of clothes under the tree.  But anyhow, there's not gonna be a big expensive item for either of them, like there usually is, and there will be more basics, like things I'd like them to have even if it weren't xmas (like paints and other art supplies, maybe a pair of shoes, playdough in their stockings).  I actually have a feeling they won't notice as long as we're all having fun.

post #4 of 12

No santa here but we are not religious either. I try really hard for it not to be all about the gifts, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. We just focus on spending time as a family, cold weather activities, doing all the things there are to do around town this time of year. 

post #5 of 12
Leading up to Christmas, we have an Advent calendar with different activities for each day (crafts, go see lights, etc... today we went shopping for Toys for Tots, yesterday we listened to Christmas music together). Each evening before dinner, we take a figure or animal from our nativity scene & move it closer to the manger (Mary, Joseph, animals, etc. 'arrive' by Christmas Eve, and the Wise Men reach the manger 12 days after Christmas). After that, we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel, then we light the candles on our Advent wreath.

On Christmas Day, we go to church, come home & open presents (or open before church if we're up early) -- DS gets 3 presents to represent the 3 gifts Jesus received from the Wise Men. We also do a little procession from the bedroom when we wake up... first we read the Christmas story in bed, then we carry the baby Jesus from our nativity set out to the manger and sing a song like Away in a Manger or something. We also make a birthday cake for Jesus & sing Happy Birthday & sometimes put up balloons & play party games. In past years we've visited family on Christmas but this year we'll be home, so we'll all make a nice meal together, maybe go for a walk, etc.

After Christmas Day, we continue moving the Wise Men closer to the manger (and sing We Three Kings). We also each open one present from our stocking on each of the 12 Days of Christmas. And we'll continue to go see Christmas lights & things like that. smile.gif

Oh and although we don't do "Santa" -- this year we started leaving boots out on St. Nick's feast day (well, you already missed it, but your kids won't know it's the wrong date so you could still do it if you wanted!) We read the story of St. Nick & left our boots out & there was a small gift in them in the morning. I liked being able to give DS a little of the 'magic' of a mysteriously appearing gift, but distancing it from Christmas (so as not to detract from Christ) and the Santa media frenzy & the "give me give me give me" & all...
post #6 of 12

We don't do Santa.  We have a small tree we decorated with lights and homemade ornaments.  DD and I will be making more decorations as the month goes on - probably from paper and from wool scraps.   We will be having a solstice party for grown ups, but I'm also thinking of having a "winter kids party" for DD and her one good friend.  We are making gifts for people and giving them away.  We aren't religious but DP's family is, and we might attend some of the gatherings.  We will probably go on some winter nature walks and walks to see lights.  Pretty basic.  We are trying to focus on sharing love and warmth with others.. a good thing to do in the winter!  :)

post #7 of 12

DD is only 1 so this isn't an issue yet. I am not a Christian but DH is. Any Christian-oriented activities are up to DH. We usually go to church on Christmas Eve or Day, depending on who we are with (always with family). We have a tree and exchange gifts (DD gets 3 gifts: a family heirloom+family recipe, 1-2 books, and a toy). But beyond that, it is about spending time with family for us.

 

We aren't going to instill a belief in Santa, but we will discuss the origins of Santa Claus and honor St. Nicholas by "playing" Santa with each other. Until the kids are old enough, DH and I will put things in their stocking. At some point, we'd like them to be Santa for each other (though I don't know how we'd do this without the different "Santas" running into each other at the fireplace, LOL.). I think there is value in the lessons St. Nicholas taught us, and the stocking thing is fun. We definitely want to steer clear of the materialistic and self-centered tendencies that the full-fledged Santa practice tends to create, and we are absolutely opposed to lying to our kids and taking advantage of their innocence and gullibility. 

 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you everybody for the replies. Keep'em coming :). We're also very religious and I'm not from this country. Where I'm from not everybody believes in Santa Claus. The way they do Christmas is they have a big feast on the 24th kind of like Thanksgiving and the kids stay up till midnight and actually get to see Santa Claus and he delivers the gifts to them. The problem with that is that not every kid gets that opportunity and now it's way more commercialized than when I was a kid.

 

Anyway this year we are also gonna go to service on the 25th and whatever else they have going on at church. We're also going to take them to see the lights around town. Thanks for the ideas, I'll be definitely using some of them. 

 

Here's a question. Do you guys let the grandparents or any family member for that matter take your LO's to the mall to see Santa and get their pictures taken? We're definitely not doing that but I've got some family visiting us here from my country and I'm sure they will want to do something like that with my kids and I'm thinking of just letting them and then explaining to them about it. My kids are so small still that they'll most likely be afraid of him. 

 

Thanks again for the responses. It's nice to know that there are other like minded mamas out there who support this. Dh is sort of on board. He thinks I'm depriving the kids of some important part of their childhood. Dh always had everything he wanted for Christmas. My family on the other hand has suffered a couple of bad Christmases before and I remember being upset because "Santa Claus" didn't bring me all the toys I wanted. That's definitely not what I want for my kids,(to be upset because they didn't get enough gifts or whatever). That's part of the reason why we're keeping it simple. 

 

 

 

  

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRmama View Post

Here's a question. Do you guys let the grandparents or any family member for that matter take your LO's to the mall to see Santa and get their pictures taken? We're definitely not doing that but I've got some family visiting us here from my country and I'm sure they will want to do something like that with my kids and I'm thinking of just letting them and then explaining to them about it. My kids are so small still that they'll most likely be afraid of him. 

To me it's really creepy to 'force' kids to go sit on a stranger's lap, especially if the kid is scared. If they aren't scared & don't mind, sure, let them pose for the grandparents or whoever, but if they are afraid, I wouldn't do it. Maybe they could pose standing in front of the Santa display or something (like a short distance away from Santa, whatever they are comfortable with).
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
To me it's really creepy to 'force' kids to go sit on a stranger's lap, especially if the kid is scared. If they aren't scared & don't mind, sure, let them pose for the grandparents or whoever, but if they are afraid, I wouldn't do it. Maybe they could pose standing in front of the Santa display or something (like a short distance away from Santa, whatever they are comfortable with).

 

 

Come to think of it that's so true. I never got the whole sitting on santa's lap deal anyway. I don't think those are the kind of memories my parents want with my kids anyway. I know how my kids are and they'll be scared no matter what, and thinking it over they definitely won't be going to anything like that.I'll have to  somehow tell my and dh's family. Dh's family will most likely freak out but I don't care. 

post #11 of 12

We didn't/don't do Santa.  We read stories about St. Nicholas.  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/  We give toys for Toys for Tots and participate in food drives both at church and the grocery store.  We give our change to the Salvation Army in their red kettles.  Our church participates in Angel Tree every year for children whose parents are in jail. http://www.angeltree.org/helpangeltree  We pick a name and buy gifts for that child and help deliver the gifts to local children. The girls when they were home and now Dylan have always participated in picking out the toys and gifts.  On Christmas morning we had cake with breakfast.  It has chocolate frosting with plastic nativity figures on it.  We lit angel candles (long since gone) and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  We do an Advent wreath every year during December.  We also hang stockings, have a Christmas tree and hang lights on the house.

 

 

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRmama View Post

Here's a question. Do you guys let the grandparents or any family member for that matter take your LO's to the mall to see Santa and get their pictures taken? We're definitely not doing that but I've got some family visiting us here from my country and I'm sure they will want to do something like that with my kids and I'm thinking of just letting them and then explaining to them about it. My kids are so small still that they'll most likely be afraid of him. 

 

 

  



No. I took her her first Christmas when she was just 1mo, just because it was cute and harmless. She was a newborn, totally clueless, and just sat there. But from this year on: no, unless she specifically asks to do it. For one, I KNOW this year she would just bawl if I put her on some strange guy's lap and stood back several feet. What a cruel thing to do (and I HATE seeing pictures of kids crying on Santa's lap. Some parents think it is super funny---- hello, your kid is in distress and that is ok why? Just so you can get a picture? *Idon'tgetit*). The reason why I won't do it is because... well... she knows the presents are coming from us. Why tell some stranger what she wants for Christmas?

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