I actually first saw mince pies in my local Co-op at the end of September, and almost cried. But I pulled myself together, clutched a box of Claudi and Fin ice lollies, and repeated the phrase ‘Indian summer’ to myself until I left the shop.
Whether we like it or not, Christmas really is just around the corner. And, horror of horrors, we’ve actually uttered the following words to our three year old daughter.
‘What would you like for Christmas?’
For a girl who suddenly really gets the concept of presents, this was like offering her a lifetime supply of Yo-Yos and Bear Paws. Her face lit up, and she danced around laughing, calling out various things. And ever since, every now and again when there’s something she wants that we don’t have, she will pause and state matter-of-factly, ‘Don’t worry mum, Santa will bring it’. And my heart stops a little because I can already see that we’ll have to start introducing some boundaries so that she knows what to expect and can enjoy the day. But, what are the right boundaries to introduce? And in what way?
In the past, we’ve used Christmas as a way to replace things like pyjamas, socks and jumpers. We’ve also stocked up on new books, and art supplies, and started a few rituals to make the run up to the day special. It was about having something for our daughter to open, more than anything else. What was inside didn’t really matter to her. I think that ship has sailed…
Last year my husband and I decided to try out the ‘Four gift rule’ of buying each other something you ‘want, need, wear and read’. This worked perfectly for us, and we will be repeating it again this year. But when it comes to the girls, this feels a little over their heads. Especially our youngest, who will be just over one year.
So I’m curious – for those of you who celebrate, what do you do? Do you focus on traditions? Do you use Christmas as an excuse to spoil your gorgeous little ones once a year? Do you moderate, and encourage them to think more about others than about themselves? Is it an opportunity to do a clear-out and toy donation? I’ve even heard of some families volunteering together in the run up to Christmas, to shift some of the focus away from presents. I think it’s a lovely idea, and one I’d like to introduce when the girls are a bit older. But in the meantime, how do I make this a holiday that is as much about the important stuff as it is about Santa? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!