How To Celebrate Christmas Without Focusing On Santa
There are many expectations at Christmas that revolve around the mythical creature, Santa Claus. He has become so much a part of the commercialized version of Christmas that he can start to feel a little too contrived and maybe even a little too invasive. Perhaps this year, you need a little break from Santa. We have some tips to keep the magic of Christmas alive for your kids without focusing too much on Santa.
Letters to Children In Need
Instead of having your kids write Santa a list of what they want for Christmas, have them write letters to children in the hospital that are suffering. Or help them make beautiful Christmas cards that they can send to someone in need of a little cheering up. What better way to teach your children compassion than to have them focus on helping someone else during the holidays. Other places you can send letters or cards include nursing homes, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, orphanages, and military stations overseas.
Skip the Santa Photos
Ah, the classic Santa picture. Let’s be honest, children don’t really like to take pictures with Santa anyway. Try turning to the great outdoors for those annual family Christmas pictures. There is something serene about a snowy backdrop and a frozen lake. If you live in a warmer area, pick your favorite park and hire a good photographer. You will get much better quality pictures than the ones you would have gotten with Santa at your local department store.
Trade the Santa Movies in for Kid Museums
Children have great imaginations. During this time of year, give them the gift of growing their imagination in a way that helps them explore important topics like science, health, history, and art. Instead of sitting at home watching the same Santa movies, let children imagine the wonders of this world in a tangible way. Take them to the local discovery museum, the zoo, the aquarium, planetarium, botanical gardens, or art museum. You can catch a fun exhibit that might be in town, like the bodies exhibit, mummies, or a traveling art exhibit.
Focus On The Beauty Around You
Help your kids appreciate the magic of Christmas by focusing on the beauty that can be found in their surroundings. It can be easy to hide away from the cold this time of year, but take some time to go outside and enjoy the beautiful things that make this time of year extra special. For example, Christmas lights are a wonder to look at and add beauty to our white and gray winters. Take your kids out for a walk with some hot cocoa or even a sleigh ride to see all the pretty lights. Go ice skating out on a lake and take in the beauty of the surrounding winter wonderland. Or take a walk through the local Christmas fair to see what wonderful things people create.
Gifts From You v.s. Gifts From Santa
It's OK to tell kids that the gifts under the tree came from you, not Santa. They can still experience the magic of opening presents and the excitement of receiving something that they hoped for, they will just know you love them and pay attention to their wants and desires. If you have a long standing tradition of giving kids gifts from Santa that is just too hard to break, perhaps you can ease out of this tradition by helping them understand the story of the real Saint Nicholas. He gave people in need presents anonymously so throughout the years, people adopted the idea of giving presents from Santa as a way to honor Saint Nicholas’ good deeds. A true present from Santa should be given anonymously to someone in need and one should not expect to receive presents from Santa themselves. You can change your children’s expectations around Santa Clause by encouraging them to give a Santa gift to someone they feel may need a little extra help this year.