Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: walking my path
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Long, but I need some input from parents who have experience outside of mainstream parenting.
We're not parents, yet... but we are in the process of talking about the kinds of values that we want to instill in Christopher (due late february) and any other future children we might have.
One thing that is very important to me is doing something to avoid the overwhelming commercialism and "gimme gimme" attitude that seems to be the pervasive culture in the USA. For a long time now, Christmas has been one of my least favorite Holidays because, once October hits, you can't walk into a store without hearing Christmas carols and seeing sales ads all over the place. And the commercials on TV are just hideous (I saw one the other day where a father told his wife and kids they couldn't open presents till after they visited grandma... their visit to grandma's consisted of driving by, waving from the car and yelling Merry Christmas, then driving back home to open gifts... ugh--makes me really glad I don't watch TV unless I'm visiting someone's house and they have it on)
We already decided a while ago that we weren't going to do Santa Claus. Initially, this was hard for me to give up, because I have wonderful Santa memories from my childhood. But no one in dh's family does Santa, and since they are all out of town and we typically travel there for some Christmas's... well it wouldn't make sense to our future children for Santa to only come on some years. Anyway, I digress
One of the ideas that I had was not doing any presents on Christmas. Leading up to Christmas, we would celebrate advent... then about a week before Christmas get our tree and decorate our house... on Christmas day, we would go over to relative's house and spend the day with family just like we always do... maybe even make time to go to a soup kitchen and help serve a meal for the homeless people in our area... anyway, on Christmas day we could start putting gifts under the tree and let them collect until Epiphany and then open them then as a celebration of the wisemen bringing gifts to Jesus.
The only thing I can't quite figure out is how to acheive that when we go to my ILs for Christmas (it wouldn't be fair for everyone else to get to open gifts and not our kids--they wouldn't understand that till they were older)... or when we go to my extended family's Christmas celebration, which is in town and which I love so much that I'm not really willing to give it up yet (it's big and huge and lots of fun). The issue with my family's celebration is that I have an uncle who dresses up as Santa and comes in to see all the kids (it's the only part of the whole day that I really dislike). I mean, it would be fine if the issue were simply that everyone else believed in Santa cause I could just warn them not to ask our kids what Santa brought them and I can teach our kids not to bring it up with other kids... but I'm not sure how to reconcile an actual visit from Santa when we're wanting to discourage that in our kids. Maybe I'll have to get to the point where I sacrifice that tradition in order to teach my kids what I want them to learn?
How did all you parents decide on your family's traditions? Did you have to give anything up to find something that seemed to fit with what you wanted your children to learn? What kinds of compromises did you have to make with your dp's? How has it paid off?
mommy to Christopher 2/29/08