I have gotten several questions about how we celebrate Christmas. It’s pretty simple around here. Just the 11 of us on Christmas morning (+ some years my parents join us).
We get up early and I set out treats on the coffee table. Cookies and sausage balls and punch. This year, since I’m off sugar, we will also have tea and fruit. I got some nuts and gluten free treats too….we will graze on it all morning while we open gifts.
James will read the Christmas story from the Bible and we will talk about Christ being the focus of our time together. That usually turns into a spontaneous conversation about gratitude or something sweet.
We don’t do Santa here. Never have. James and I always felt it was not best for the children’s character to have the focus be so much on their gifts or some mysterious stranger. Our goal in parenting is to teach them to focus on others and love the Lord. Christmas is no exception to that. So we buy each child one gift and they each get a stocking with small things in it. I go a little overboard on the stockings some tears, but I am working on it. It’s getting to be too expensive now that I can’t just pour goldfish crackers and Target dollar spot toys in there.
Also, the kids draw names each year and keep it a secret. We call it “Secret Buddies” and they spend $20-25 of their own money to buy this one gift. Once I have all of the secret buddy gifts I wrap them and place them under the tree all at the same time so they won’t be able to guess who their buddy is (they know who has been shopping already so if I put them out as they were purchased they would be able to guess).
That means on Christmas morning each child has 2 gifts, one from Mom & Dad and the other from their secret buddy. That is plenty for our family considering we don’t need a thing and we have so much already that it’s shameful. James and I also give each other a gift and the kids usually chip in to get us something. I know a lot of people skip Mom and Dad, but we believe that sends the wrong message to the kids. Mom and Dad are just as special as the kids in God’s eyes and the gifts communicate that. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but there needs to be something for everyone under the tree.
We unwrap gifts one at a time. No chaotic, wild time of everyone ripping into their own presents. We like to enjoy seeing what everyone else gets and it teaches us to all be interested in each other and not just ourselves. Also, we expect all of the kids to pay attention to the others while they open. It can be hard for the little ones since they’re so excited, so we may let them play a little with something new while they watch, but they can’t be distracting or completely self-focused.
Once the gifts under the tree are opened we take a little break. I usually get lunch started and we clean up all of the trash then we gather together again and start emptying the stockings. One at a time while we all watch and enjoy.
Once we finish, we eat and settle into playing with new toys and checking out our presents. I love just mulling around watching the kids and being with them while they enjoy their things. We eat a late lunch (this year I’m making roast) then just hang out together.
It’s a simple, love filled day.
How about you? What’s your favorite family Christmas tradition?