What does Christmas mean to me?
With the holidays so near, I have been thinking a lot lately about how I will approach Christmas when it comes to my daughter. At 17 months old, she won’t really understand what is going on this year. Still, I want to begin laying the groundwork for the Christmas I hope to create for her. I am torn on many things that I never even thought about before I had a child. There are so many aspects of the holidays we have to manage for our children! Besides Santa, flying reindeer, and that whole charade, there is now an Elf floating around that we are expected to artfully manipulate each day.
I am not anti-Santa, but I am also wary of building up the St Nick side of the holiday so much that Belle grows up without appropriate reverence for Christmas. This time of year is beautiful and peaceful, but that can be easily lost between Elves on Shelves, 8 tiny reindeer, and Santa at the mall.
There’s a part of me that wants to create magic for her, then another part that fears the letdown that lives on the other end of that charade; and still another part of me wants to focus on the real reason for the season. I feel like I say this every post (and every day), but how do I balance all of that?
There is no “right way,” but what way is best for my little family? I have some time to figure this out, but I’ve been thinking about what I most want her to know and remember, and came up with a list of what I hope to be able to give my daughter for Christmas:
Look forward to this time of year. The 24 days leading up to Christmas are really the best part to me! I love seeing the decorations go up, the preparations for the big day. It is so exciting to have something to look forward to!
Just like Linus and Charlie Brown, we need to know what Christmas is all about. Belle will know the Christmas story and why it is so important. I hope that when she holds up that candle to sing Silent Night during Christmas Eve service, she understands why the night is so special.
We are so fortunate to have everything we need and more, but I want Belle to be aware of how lucky she is. Even here in our town, there are people in need. I want her to think of Christmas as a time when we help provide for others and share the abundance that we have.
My husband and I both grew up in close families that both live here locally. Over the last decade that we have been together, our families have grown close to each other and become one big crazy group. Belle is lucky to have her grandparents so close, and I want her to cherish the time she has with them. It won’t last forever.
Baking cookies, watching Christmas Classics, roasting marshmallows, brunch with family…these are the memories that last.
Be a silly kid and have fun! Enjoy the decorating and the lights and opening presents, because it is all very fun! (And she’s a kid, they are supposed to be having fun-I can’t lose sight of that)
I want my little girl to wonder, just how does all of this happen? I want her to marvel at the lights and the stories, and believe in the magic, just a little bit.
The songs we hear year after year bring us back to the time when WE believed in the magic.
This one may seem strange, but I don’t want Belle to get everything she wants for Christmas. Of course, deep down I want to give her everything, but I can’t do that to her. That’s not how life works, even at Christmas. If you never want for anything, you will never appreciate anything. It is OK (and healthy) to feel disappointment and learn how to deal with it.
Obviously, this is the most important. I want Belle to know that she is surrounded by a family that loves her blindly. If there is any time of year to show love to your family and friends, this is it! There is no way I can explain to her how much I love her, but hopefully throughout the Christmas season she will see and understand that she is loved beyond words.
I still have no real plan for how to balance the fact with the fiction, but knowing that these elements are in place seems like a good place to start.
How do you balance the different aspects of the holidays for your kids? How do you manage their expectations in keeping with reality, but still keep the magic alive? I have a lot to learn 🙂