Christmas is magic.
As a child, I eagerly went to bed, so Santa could arrive. Yet I couldn’t sleep, due to the anticipation. I would hear bells in the distance. I’d wake up early in the morning, to find that the cookies, carrot, and milk had been eaten. Our stockings were stuffed with wondrous surprises, and there were presents under the tree. We equate that mountain of presents with a perfect, magical Christmas.
I have struggled with Santa. At first, he seemed to embody all that I’m against–materialism. The fighting over the latest toy. The violence in Black Friday lines. The gimmes.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t always that way.
We live in such a culture of excess, that more is better. More, more, more.
But how unhappy would the Bean be, if she grew up without Santa? What child wouldn’t rebel if Christmas were just another day?
Remember that voluntary simplicity is not about martyrdom. It is not about giving up all things fun. It is about picking and choosing, about living deliberately.
So what are we going to choose? What do we like about Santa? We like the surprise. The build-up. So, maybe there are ways to create the anticipation and surprise without the glut.
Here are some ideas we’re considering:
1. Build it up. Visit Santa. Read a book about Santa. Don’t focus on the commercials and the popular toys. But there is nothing wrong with someone leaving surprises to all good boys and girls.
2. Ring some Christmas bells near your child’s room at night.
3. It’s not necessarily the mountain of presents that’s exciting. It’s the crazy, fun-looking room. Leave out lots of treats (they can be healthy, but make them something you don’t usually have!). Maybe hide treats, or little toys, around the house.
4. Stuff stockings with oranges and popcorn balls.
5. Have a few, thoughtful gifts. Maybe Santa’s elves actually make the gifts, rather than buying them at WalMart.
6. Have music playing, and enjoy a nice breakfast afterwards.
7. Make a large present, and have it unwrapped, under the tree, as a surprise.
If you get away from conventional thinking, your Christmas can be even more fun, without the excess consumption!