All across the world on Christmas Day children woke up excited that Santa had slid down their chimnies and left presents for them under the tree. In haste, they ran down the stairs in anticipation of what they might find.
Could it be the bike they had always wanted, the game or toy they saw at the store and wrote Santa about?
This was not so in my home.
First of all, my babies are too young to understand the concept of Christmas and Santa or gifts. Secondly, I am not a big believer in giving gifts for Christmas.
Too Young and Currently Content
My boys, Hodari and Milambu, are currently 9 months old. They are still new to this world and all they are concerned with is having full bellies, a warm bed to sleep on, and lots of love! All of which I love giving daily.
I envy this stage in their lives. I envy their want for nothing but the basics. Nothing but the essentials needed to survive and thrive. Or whatever lays around that may spark their curiosity and please their taste buds.
Adulting is sometimes made difficult by the desires we harbor for material possessions. These make the holidays such a stressful time because we are all anticipating gifts from others or frantically searching for last-minute gifts for others.
Using up credit cards and money that was meant for emergencies to put smiles on the ones we love.
Luckily this year I didn’t have to worry about gifting my babies and just had to make sure that they had a roof over their head, a bed under their body, and food in their bellies.
Have you joined my newsletter list yet? You can do so here.
Christmas is More Than Just a Gifting Season
I grew up in Kenya, Africa where we did not associate Christmas with gifts or Santa (during the time I was there we didn’t, things have changed now).
Christmas in Kenya was all about God and remembering His son who was born on this day and also celebrating my birthday (I was born on Dec 24th). When the 25th of December rolled around, we woke up excited about the day. We got dressed in our Christmas outfits and went to church in the morning.
We would usually go to church and then come back so as to celebrate the day.
I never knew or heard of Santa. I didn’t know anything about Christmas trees and gift-giving. All I knew was that it was Jesus’s birthday and mine as well.
Our family would come together for the celebrations and we would eat Chicken and other Kenyan delicacies, fellowship together, and then disperse.
It was only when we moved here in 2007 that I started hearing about this Santa guy. At the time, I was 14 and my siblings we younger but we still did not associate Christmas with Santa in our house.
My parents have never been the gift-giving kind.
People always tell me “wow, your birthday is Dec 24, you must get twice the presents!” And I just look at them and say nope… not even close! Haha…
Birthdays and Christmas were never gift-giving occasions in my family. It was always a time to get together and fellowship together. My parents would give us cards (no money inside, unfortunately) with a candy bar (don’t laugh).
And that was it. No elaborate gifts, just those two items. I have grown to hate cards because of this (sorry dad! Still love you!)
That is why I never associated gifts with Christmas. Or even birthdays.
I have grown to appreciate experiences and fellowship with my family more than a gift I can probably buy myself.
Creating New Traditions
As a new mom, I have wondered if I would introduce the concept of Santa and gift-giving to my boys.
I don’t want them to grow up believing that they deserve gifts during Christmas just because. I want them to have an appreciation of experiences more than possessions. Furthermore, I don’t want them to think that all their wishes will come true if only they are nice and write to Santa.
Since I want to form experiences with them and I want Christmas to be more than just a gift-giving season, here are some traditions I will be incorporating as they grow:
- Volunteering at the Shelter on Christmas Eve
- Taking vacation trips together
- Putting together gifts and giving them to the homeless
- Remembering the true reason for this season
Would love to hear about your Christmas traditions, let me know in the comments!
However you decide to celebrate this season, I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!