I love Christmas. I didn’t grow up celebrating it (that’s another story for another blog post), so the traditions are still new and exciting to me. I’ve been around Christmas my whole life, but it’s a new experience to be participating myself, to be creating family traditions for our little one. I want her to grow up with holiday memories that bind her to her peers throughout her life. I think that’s an important part of what the holidays do for American culture. But I also want to make sure that our holiday traditions reflect our values. Our holiday included giving and making. Ladybug is only three, so we kept it simple. She drew pictures as gifts for her cousins, and she watched as we constructed our own DIY Christmas tree. As she gets older, we hope to spend more time volunteering, baking, and crafting. Every year gets more fun and brings new possibilities for holiday magic.
“Maybe magic is just love.”* This is the magic that I’ve known. This is the magic that I want my daughter to take away from this family. There are those who say that children need to believe in Santa Claus to have magic and wonder in their lives. I disagree wholeheartedly. We see magic everyday in the way we treat each other. Kind words are magic. Paying-it-forward is magic. You are magic.
As for wonder, I like how Dale McGowan put it in Parenting Beyond Belief: “It is so precious to get a glimpse of real knowledge, so breathtaking, that no lesser standard than trial by skepticism will do. It leaves behind only those things wonderful enough to make us weep at the pure beauty of their reality and at the equally awesome idea that we could find our way to them all.” This is one of the main values I want to impart to my daughter. I want her to look at what is real and see the wonder in that. I don’t want her to believe that the wonder ends when you start asking “why?”
I think we’ll save Santa for when Ladybug is old enough to be in on the fantasy. We love pretending, after all. We love stories. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had grown up with Santa myself. I can’t say for sure. I can only say what feels right for us.
To be honest, I still trip over the words to Christmas carols I’ve heard a million times but only recently started to sing. I didn’t manage to get Christmas cards out before the holiday (or the new year), and I’m quite sure no one had a Christmas tree like ours. Our Christmas was “us,” and I loved it.
* This quote is from Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. A favorite of mine.
4 thoughts on “A Santa-free celebration”
That tree ROCKS!!!
I will add that book to my “must-read” pile.
My compliments to you and your family on starting new traditions. As you know, we are trying to do the same.
I enjoyed McGowan’s essay in that book titled “Teaching Kids to Yawn at Counterfeit Wonder.” Particularly, on pages 220-1, he lists off bits of real wonder that he recommends his readers (and their children) ‘try on for size.’
Thanks, Tall and James :)