It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... and I love Christmas! The Christmas Carols, the Christmas Lights and of course the Christmas Earrings! (haha)
Those of you who know me well, or have been following me for a while, would know I am mum to three little girls. They are seven, five and three. It has always been important for me to demonstrate to my girls that Christmas is not just about Santa. And with each year I am finding new ways to do so. New ways to encourage my girls to enjoy the moments we share as a family rather than just jumping from gift to gift with little regard for where it came from. It is a work in progress ... and something that will continue to evolve along with the girls. But whilst they are still young and their expectations are still mine to mold, it is the ideal time for some new traditions.
I wanted to share with you some of the ways I am challenging old traditions this Christmas and making my own.
1. The Advent Calendar ... this is a somewhat easy one to change, there are lot's of ideas on how to make the Advent Calendar more meaningful and more sustainable. For my Family this year, I have written out an 'act of Kindness' for each day of the month. Each morning the note is read aloud and we set ourselves the goal to complete it by dinner time that day. This idea was given to me by my dear friend Helen, who is also doing this with her little girls this Christmas.
2. The Present List ... to be honest, I have never liked the idea of my girls writing a list of things they want. But I guess giving into the pressures of societies traditions, I had always allowed it. But this year, I have been more confident in my values to say a big no to list making. It's not that I don't want my girls to get things that they want, however ... majority of the time, (speaking from experience) they think they want something, but they don't. They think they want it because they have seen it on TV or in the shops ... but it actually doesn't live up to the expectations and is quickly discarded for a better toy. I watch my girls play everyday, I know the toys they engagement with, the ones that give them hours of pleasure, and those which stimulate imaginative play. Trust me when I tell you, those toys are rarely the ones seen on TV or lining the aisle at the local toy shop.
Instead, I made the list, I carefully thought about what it is they NEED, and what Toys would add something to our home. Toys that were timeless and for everyone to enjoy. They also had to be made from Sustainable materials, be hardy and be something that would last the test of time.
I told my girls that they would get SURPRISES this year, there was no list needed! They accepted this happily.
3. Thank you Santa ... don't get me wrong, I love the idea of the North Pole, elves and the rest of the magical stories told at Christmas time. I talk about Santa with my girls, read them the stories and share in the excitement. However, I don't like the idea of my girls thinking that Santa has an unlimited supply of presents for them, that were magically created, with no expense or hardwork. I have always told my girls that Santa brings some toys and the rest are from Mum and Dad. This year, I am taking it a step forward .., there will be two gifts from Santa ... and the rest from Mum and Dad. This is so I can talk to my girls about the gifts and they learn to show gratitude for the things that they have been given.
4. Stocking Fillers ... it's a term heard a lot at Christmas time ... 'great stocking fillers' ... I'm not sad to say that my girls stockings will not make an appearance this Christmas. I have left them in the box this year ... to me, it's just another lot of things to find and purchase. And let's be honest ... usually it's mindless plastic items that have no real meaning behind them, other than to 'fill the stocking'.
5. Enough is Enough ... it can be be hard to draw the line between, wanting and needing and it can be even harder to find just the right amount of presents for under the tree. I think the worst fear for parents on Christmas morning is disappointing your child. Not having enough presents for them to open and not giving them what they want. But guess what, the expectations of Christmas morning - they come from us. The bar is where we set it. We are in charge and that is how we manage their expectations. There are some great gift giving ideas that can help keep you on track this Christmas ... such as 'Something you want, Something you need, Something you wear and Something you read'. For my girls I have done something similar ... I have written a list of items they need / would benefit from: Summer PJ's, a pair of Shoes, Books, School Lunch Box, Aluminum Drink Bottle. In addition to these things they will each get two Toys / Activities (from Santa).
Don't be afraid to challenge the Traditions in your house this Christmas, sometimes we adopt a way of doing things, without questioning why. Be unique and find ways that your family can be Less Greedy and More Greenie this Christmas! Tag #lessgreedymoregreenie and share your ideas!