8 Things I Loved in December

December was such a lovely month. Lots of family time, lots of celebrations, lots of laughter and love.

If I actually shared every single things I loved about December, we would all be here for days, so here is a very, very condensed list.

Potato Soup

The boys and I went to my parents for the day in the middle of the month to have lunch with my mom at work for a fundraiser–this is actually one of my favorite parts of December, but I didn’t take any photos, so I’m skipping over lunch and going straight to dinner.

My dad made potato soup. He said, “I’m not sure about feeding it to the boys. I put a little chili powder in it so it’s spicy.” (It was not spicy. I had no reservations about the boys eating it). Atticus was sitting in dad’s lap and when he realized Dad wasn’t going to share he helped himself. He pulled Dad’s spoon right out of his hand and fed himself some soup. Gryffin loved the soup, too.

Advent Books

Steph’s mom gave the boys 25 books, each wrapped individually, so each day of advent they could open a new one. This was great for so many reasons. 1) It was adorable. 2) It was fun. 3) It prepared the boys for opening their Christmas gifts. 4) You would not even believe how much the boys love books so it was very exciting for them.

Christmas Tree

We did not put ornaments on our tree this year. We evaluated the situation and decided chasing TWO one-year-olds out of the tree all day every day wasn’t worth it. Instead, we just put it up with the lights and a bow on top and bought the boys a felt tree on Amazon. They loved ripping the ornaments off the felt tree and scattering them all over the house.

Pizza Night

Steph and I love pizza. I think Stpeh would eat it every single day and not grow tired of it. Well, A and G are just chips of the block, because they love it, too. Atticus even climbed into the pizza box to be as close to the yummy-ness as possible.

Cricut Fun

I had a lot of fun with my Cricut Maker this year. I made cups for everyone in Steph’s family (I forgot to photograph before I gifted them) and I made the boys these adorable Christmas shirts. Crafting, and my Cricut, relax me. Best way to relieve stress.

Rings

Steph had these adorable rings made for my stocking. I wear them on a necklace and love them so much. Gryffin enjoys fiddling with them when we snuggle, too.

3 Years

Steph and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It’s been an amazing three years and I’m looking forward to a lifetime of happiness and love. I made this video for our anniversary. (BTW, when I shared the video on our anniversary, FB told me I had to make it clear that I do not own the music, nor did I write or perform the music. So, just in case you somehow believed I was so talented, it is actually “The Day Before You” performed by Rascal Flatts).

Christmas

Oh gosh Christmas was so much fun. We had a whirlwind of 4 celebrations in 4 cities in 4 days. I didn’t get nearly as many photos as I would have liked, but here’s a few. Love these sweet, silly babies.

What did you love about December?

5 Reasons Our Kids Don’t Believe in Santa (and 2 Ways We Still Keep The Magic Alive)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I love holidays. All holidays. I love celebrating and now that I’m a mom I love it even more.

Nap time with Atticus. <3

This year I had so much fun making family Halloween costumes (You can see them here). The boys really enjoyed eating Thanksgiving food. And now, it’s Christmas. I am in love with my Christmas tree, even if all we have done so far this year is put it up–no ornaments. And Steph bought family stockings that I have been wanting for years. I have all the crafts planned and all the cooking ideas and I’ve spent way too much money on Christmas gifts. But I love it.

However, I have had a concern prickling my subconscious: Santa

I don’t want to teach my kids to believe Santa is real. And not just Santa, but the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and that damn Elf on the Shelf, too. But at the same time I was doubting myself. What if I was stealing the magic of the holidays or the innocence of being a child by not convincing my kids to believe?

I think I may have found a solution!

There are five big reasons I don’t want to teach my kids to believe in Santa (et al)

1. I don’t want to lie to them.

I want my kids to know they can trust me with anything and everything no matter what. And I feel like if I create a foundation of dishonesty in their most formative years, I might not ever recover.

2. I’m not into bribing or manipulating my kids for good behavior.

I want them to make good choices and be good people because it’s the expectation and for the intrinsic rewards, not for gift-wrapped packages under a decorated tree. Also, I don’t want them to feel like they have to earn gifts or my love. My main love language is easily physical touch, but receiving gifts is a close second. I want to give my children gifts as an act of love and I don’t want them to ever feel like they have to do something to earn my love. I love them simply because they are mine and that will never change.

3. Santa is a creep.

He spies on kids all year long. He judges their worth. And then he breaks into their homes while they are sleeping. That does not sound fun.

Also, I’m not a huge fan of the fake Santas who pose for photos. I’m sure most of them are wonderful and have no ulterior motives. But some of them are disgusting.

I let the boys take a photo *near* Santa this year when we ran into him at a craft fair because there was no line and the photos were free.

We walked away and paused so I could get them ready to go outside and a couple of high-school-aged girls wanted to take a silly photo with Santa. The same Santa who had no problem with posing next to my stroller refused to take a photo with these girls unless they sat on his lap. They only wanted to stand next to him, but he pressured and insisted they sit on him.

The girls left without a photo, and I was furious. It was absolutely inappropriate for a grown man to insist that teen girls sit on his lap even though they made it clear that 1) they did not want to and 2) he made them uncomfortable. I worried about all the innocent children who sat on his lap throughout the day.

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4. “Santa” WAS real.

St Nicholas was orphaned when he was a teenager. His wealthy parents left him a lot of money. He heard about a man who was going to have to sell his three adult daughters into slavery because they were so poor he couldn’t afford food much less a dowry, which means they couldn’t marry. One night, the oldest daughter washed her stockings and hung them by the fire to dry. The next morning, she saw a lump in her stocking and found enough gold inside to provide food for her family and pay her dowry so she could marry instead of becoming a slave. The next morning, another bag of gold was found. The third night, the father stayed awake to catch who was helping his family. When he was discovered, Nicholas asked the father to not tell anyone about his deeds.

St. Nicholas helped people throughout his whole life, and he always tried to help in secret. He didn’t want attention or thanks. I feel like it is more important to teach the spirit of Santa Claus/Christmas/St Nicholas is one of generosity and giving that should last all year long and not just during December.

5. I do not want to negatively affect my kids’ faith.

Religion is a tricky subject. I want to teach my children about my spirituality and faith. I want to teach them about the saints and Advent and the 12 Days of Christmas, and Epiphany, and Lent–all things I didn’t really know anything about until I was an adult. Some of them I had never even heard of until I was an adult.

And I want them to know it is okay to question. They do not have to choose the same religious belief system I have chosen–I won’t force that on them. But if I trick them into believing in mythical creatures and people when they are children, then later when they are questioning whether God is real or sovereign then what validity is there in anything I could say?

What will we do instead? Two Things

1. Giving

We will share with our kids what being a gift giver really means and how to promote the magic of Christmas by creating a spirit of thankfulness and giving and family tradition.

I love giving gifts, and I think I’m pretty good at choosing meaningful ones. I love making gifts (handmade gifts are my favorite to receive!). We will make an effort to teach our kids how much fun it is to give thoughtful gifts. We will demonstrate thankfulness in all seasons and conditions. And we will always focus on family and togetherness as most important not only during the holiday season, but all year.

2. Pretending

We will still do all the Santa things (and Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny) but we will tell the kids “This is something that we (children and adults) pretend because it is fun.”

Does tricking our kids into believing in Santa inspire creativity? No. Can we encourage creative thought and play and still be truthful? Yes. Imagining that Santa exists and believing that he really does are two completely different things.

So we will still bake cookies for Santa (peanut butter, because they’re my favorite) and we will still write him letters (duh. With two English teacher moms they’ll probably write several drafts of each letter). We will still read books about Santa (and St. Nicholas). We will still fill their stockings after they go to sleep on Christmas Eve. On Easter they will still wake up to Easter baskets. When they lose teeth they will still find glittery money under their pillows from the Tooth Fairy. But they are always going to know that we are all pretending these fun things together. Moms pretend to be the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

I know this isn’t ideal for everyone.

And that’s okay. I promise I will ask my kids not to tell the truth to other kids before I send them to school. But I am very much looking forward to building traditions with my family that include fun, love, and happiness for all of us.

What is your favorite holiday tradition from your childhood? What is your favorite tradition you celebrate with your kids? Tell me in the comments!

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