Don’t lie to me about Santa.

We lie to kids all the time. We should stop. I often talk to Chris about all the Hallmark holidays that have gotten out of hand. Maybe I am a buzz kill, but we are basically telling kids lies and then later expect them to trust us. My parents did it and I turned out fine (at least I think I did), but I think I might just stop the craziness when I have kids. I thought Stefanie Wilder-Taylor said it just right in “Gummi Bears Should Not be Organic:

“Early on their life is filled with fantasies they believe to be true, such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (notice I capitalized Tooth Fairy—because, like God, the Tooth Fairy is still very much a real and venerable life force in my house.) And who puts those fantasies in their head? We do. So when your child tries to convince you that the reason they took all the forks out of the kitchen is because they needed them to help run the jelly bean factory in their closet, how can we be mad when we’ve convinced them that a fat guy with a sack of toys is going to be sliding down their chimney?” page 92-93

She is right. We lie and then we expect them not to lie to us. Besides I think most kids do not even know the true meaning of Christmas. They think of it as a plethora of gifts, a tree, photos with Santa, and whatever other crazy traditions we have started. What if instead we all went back to the true meaning of Christmas? Giving to those in need and being together. Sadly, because of all the crazy hubbub of Christmas, I have become a Grinch. I do not want to buy you a gift just to get you a gift, and I do not want you to do the same. I do not need a thing.

It is funny — I decided to Google “the true meaning of Christmas” and I got such an array of answers about Jesus, God, and lots of other religious babble. One site did give me an answer I liked — that the true meaning of Christmas is Love. Now that is something I can wrap my arms around. Can we show our kids that? Instead of telling them about a fat, jolly Santa, the North Pole, and lots and lots of presents, why not show them how to give to kids in their community that do not have as much? Maybe sharing a coat with someone who does not have one? Or selecting toys to give to children that do not have any. What then are you teaching your kids? Love, gratitude, sharing, and appreciation for all they have each day?

I do not want to raise kids that feel they are just going to get presents upon presents under the Christmas tree, and so many they cannot even begin to appreciate them. That is commercialism and consumerism at its best. I would rather dote on them throughout the year, rather than swoop in on one day out of the year. Besides it feels like a lot of pressure, and is it really worth it? Call me a Grinch, but I do not want to start that tradition.

Turkey Day Gratitude

Turkey. Mashed potatoes (with herbs and goat cheese). Cornbread stuffing. Yeast rolls (maybe pretzel yeast rolls). Veggies. Canned cranberry sauce (yes I said it, I eat it straight from the can, bumpy can imprints and all). Pie. Don’t touch my pie.

We all have our favorite foods, traditions, and things to do over holidays, and sometimes specifically for Thanksgiving. Yet, do we have traditions for Thanksgiving that actually carry into each day of our year? I have been thinking about that recently. Chris and I have a jar for 2013 where we put a note in it for when we have things we are grateful for. We will open and read them all on New Years Eve and then start again for 2014. I feel a bit like wanting to go and shake the presents under the tree, because I want to see all that we have put into the jar for the year, but I will wait and not peek.

So what are your Thanksgiving traditions? What will you be doing with your family and friends? I will be with my better half. I will miss being with my family, especially my mother-to-be sister, but I know that she is starting the beginnings of traditions for her new family. Her life is about to change in big ways and she has so much to be grateful for — each day is a blessing. Sometimes I am not sure we have the grace to see and feel the awe and wonder of all the moments around us that teach us to be more patient and kind.

Take a slower day on Thursday. Give thanks to all those that have taught you wonderful lessons this year. Hold those that have struggled dear in your heart as they need your love too.

Much gratitude to you today and every day.