Happy Thanksgiving American Friends! I hope the day is full of family and joy. Why you insist on having Thanksgiving in November is beyond me (and Kia too – see here) it is way too cold and unpredictable in my opinion. But hey, if half your country is willing to risk life & limb & snowstorm to get together, who am I to judge?
The thing about Canadian t.v. is that, well, we watch a lot of US t.v. Last night, the only ads were for Holiday Shopping. I realize that there is actually a term for tomorrow – Black Friday (which I had to explain for my husband) and that explains why I felt like Christmas shopping was being rammed down my throat.
I have to say I am pretty conflicted about the whole commercialization of Christmas. On the one hand, I adore seeing that look of excitement and wonder in my kids when they experience the magic of Santa. They love to receive gifts and are excited even with socks. I love to give gifts, so this works out pretty well.
On the other hand, all religion aside, my kids are drowning in “stuff”. We KNOW that Nathan does better with less clutter, fewer options and simple choices. Yet, every year we shovel bucket-loads of toys, clothing, books and other clutter at them for Christmas. Do they love it all? Yes. Can they possibly play with it all? Well…..no.
So, therein lies my real conflict. My faith experience is that Santa and Jesus can happily co-exist at Christmas. To me, the important point is that we allow the children to equally experience both, even though we know Santa has the greater appeal when they are little. I purposely don’t read Santa stories to them because I think they get enough of those messages outside the home.
The balance, for me, is in finding a way to keep God at the forefront of Christmas while still acknowledging that giving and receiving gifts is part of our family celebration. I don’t want to raise kids who only know the fun of receiving. I also don’t want to raise kids who only see Christmas as a way to get “stuff”.
In order to find that balance for my family, I think I first need to find it within myself. We’ve decided to scale back the Christmas presents this year (not for economic reasons but because we don’t need more stuff) and focus more intently on family, the Christmas meal and the time we will have together. Perhaps what is needed is to be more intentional about Christmas as opposed to just letting it happen. It’s not about the perfect gift or even one that will “do” because you can’t find a perfect one. It’s about experiencing the real magic of love, togetherness and peace that can come with the season, if we are simply open to it.