There's a lot of talk about gift giving these days, to do or not to do Santa, homemade or store-bought, a lot or a little... Here's a little glance at how we do it (or rather, are going to do it as some of this is new for us this year).
For starters, we aren't doing Santa, although I treat Santa just like any other "character." I don't go around telling Chiquita that Elmo is not real so I don't do it for Santa either. He's just a character, and when she gets older we will talk about the history and story behind Saint Nicholas. But in our house, Santa doesn't bring presents. Mommy and Daddy do. I personally, don't feel right about the whole make-believing with Santa, but that's just my opinion. This one of those things that everyone has to decide for themselves.
Chiquita did sit on Santa's lap at a kids' Christmas party last night. I'm not outlawing everything Santa or anything. I just don't want our kids writing lists, asking Santa for things or any of that. Christmas is our time to bless them with something special in the tradition of how Jesus blesses us with so much. It's her "goodie bag" for attending Jesus' birthday party. Birthdays will be the time when our kids get lavished on with gifts a little more.
We are also going to start baking Jesus a birthday cake for Christmas. I love this tradition and I know of a lot of my friends kids who are a little older than Chiquita who really love it. We also have a little clear gift under our tree with a poem about it is Jesus' gift (I'll post the poem up here later).
Finally, here's our gift-giving plan. We love stockings in our family. My family grew up with the tradition of practical, fun, cutesy gifts in the stockings, all individually wrapped, with an orange in the bottom of the stocking. I never really knew what the orange was all about, but last week a friend told me that she heard the tradition originated during the depression when a piece of fruit was a true luxury. I like that. We will continue to do stockings in our little family, but they will be from each other, not from Santa.
I'm super excited about our main gifts. One practical reason we want to do things simply is because we know that our kids will receive even more from extended family and we feel they don't need to be overwhelmed and inundated with tons of material things. I also want our gifts to be meaningful. My good friend told me about her method and I'm totally adopting it! She does three gifts for each child on Christmas to signify the three gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus (and maybe even the Trinity!):
Body: for us this will be a few handmade or embellished clothing items.
Spirit: this is the gift that really speaks to the child's spirit, something they've really been wanting. Chiquita is getting a play kitchen this year made by her daddy. I can't wait for her to open this as she's really into "cooking" these days.
Soul: something that will encourage her in her walk with the Lord (a new Bible, devotional, worship CD), etc.
Another similar idea is three gifts actually based on the wise men gifts which I read about in this article.
How do you celebrate Christmas through gift-giving?