If you keep up w/my blog, you know that I recently posted a commentary about the pitfalls of a pressure-filled Christmas. Creating and maintaining certain holiday traditions is often difficult and daunting, ruining the fun those very traditions were supposed to create! We began our “gifts for Santa” tradition when McKenna was 4. This will be our third year, and Mac is now old enough to join us in the spirit of giving too.
Each Christmas our children choose one of their toys, and not one of the old, ratty ones, to leave under the tree for Santa. The idea is that when Santa leaves new gifts, he also takes a toy to pass along to another boy or girl. This activity doesn’t require decorating, cooking, building a paper mache manger or ice sculptures. It simply requires a bit of time and a family desire to learn more about the art of giving.
Yes- it’s a bit difficult the first year and with younger children (I would not start before 3, and only if that child is a younger sibling. 4 worked well for our first born). However, spending time going through your child’s toys with him/her and taking the time to talk about those who have and those who don’t, will help make giving a habit for your child. McKenna Kate takes several days to really choose something that is still meaningful to her, but that she feels will make another boy or girl very happy. I think Mac will struggle this year, but I think the act of giving, especially because it will be difficult, will be a good learning opportunity for him.
Mom and dad can join in the giving fun too by choosing something to leave for Santa. I haven’t chatted with my husband yet, but I plan to leave Santa a pair of boots I purchased last year. They are in great condition, and I do still wear them on occasion. However, our family is blessed, and the boots are more a want than a need. I have other pairs, while many have no shoes at all.
I hope this little tradition sounds like it could work for your family. Sometimes it is the little things that have the biggest and longest lasting impact.
Merry Christmas and happy gifting!
P.S. If you’re wondering what Santa does with the gifts from under the tree, he wraps them in a garbage bag and puts them in the garage. When the coast is clear, he delivers them to the Salvation Army or another charitable organization.