When you start a new family, you need to decide what sort of parent you want to be, what your family values are. One of the areas that has been top of mind lately, is about Christmas.
What does Christmas mean for our family?
I saw a letter somewhere on the interwebs the other day, talking about how Santa is real, but not in the respect that he is one person. Rather that he is a collective spirit – that everyone around the world who are celebrating Christmas is collectively ‘Santa’.
I love the idea that Santa is true, as a collective. That he embodies the good intentions of all the mums & dads that keep his character alive. That he “is the magic and love and spirit of giving to others.”
But I think this message sometimes gets lost along the way. That in today’s hyper-commercialism, Santa is measured by the number or price of presents.
Many moons, ago, when one of our friends was just a preschooler, she was given a new tent for Christmas. And inside this tent, were all her presents. That’s right, she received a tent-full of presents. And so, on Christmas morning, she delighted in sitting opening them up, one by one. But when she got to the last present, she burst into tears. Bless her cotton socks.
More is not always better.
Of course her parents had the best intentions. I’m not judging or blaming. I just think it’s funny that’s all. To think that they tried so hard, gave her so much, and they still couldn’t win.
Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” “Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr Seuss, 1957)
I’m going with the theory that, for our immediate family, Santa should bring one or two main present(s) for each person, not dozens.
Am I being a spoil sport? I don’t think so.
It would be easy to go and spend a fortune on a multitude of presents to try to show everyone else how much I love my family. But I’m not that insecure. My family already know how much I love them. And I don’t give a damn about keeping up with the Jones’.
My kids are privileged. They have everything they need and almost everything they want. We have a large extended family, so they’ll receive a bunch of gifts anyway. Do they need a truckload of more stuff from Santa? Of course not.
I want Christmas to be about the sensory overload of hundreds of lights. Of the smell of baking gingerbread. Of the chorus of carols sung slightly off key. Of being grateful for the year past. Of family. I want Christmas to be about more than just mere presents.