Christmas

Simple Christmas

These days I find Christmas pretty overwhelming and each year I dream about taking the boys away to a secluded cabin on a lake somewhere and avoiding it altogether. In my dreams we fish for flatties during the day and play cards at night, we have long sleep-ins and read books out on the deck in the morning sun, me sipping hot coffee while the boys feed bread to the local birds…

Failing that dream ever coming true, I’ve been trying to work out ways to help the boys to focus on the important things and enjoy the magic and meaning of Christmas, and have worked out a few things along the way:

1/ Involve the kids in the act of writing cards, and have a conversation about the person and what kind and meaningful words you can write together.

2/ Stick to 3 quality gifts from Santa to avoid the feeling of excess. The night before we also say a prayer to Santa to thank him for everything we have, talk about how we’ve been good (plus of course Ol likes to add a few last minute requests to the old Saint Nick).

3/ Try to buy second hand first – Gumtree is a great place to start for bikes, toys etc. Avoid the shops where you can and stick to online shopping where necessary so the kids are never in a store pre-Christmas. For nieces and nephews who are a bit older, I try to buy experiences like passes to the zoo, or better still, instigate a kids Kris Kringle so each child thinks about a thoughtful gift for their cousin.

4/ If I know I’ll be catching up with friends who would likely bring presents, I send them a text around the time we make the plans, asking if we can scrub around the gift giving as I’m trying to keep our small house clutter free/the kids have enough toys etc etc. Half the battle is predicting these moments before they happen and putting in a bit of ground work in advance (although there are often times where I still get caught out where they have bought a plastic toy for the kids, and I’ve bought nothing, at which point I offer to shout their kids a pass to a play centre for us to meet in the new year and quickly scuffle the toy into my bag in the hope that the boys will forget about it and I can take it to a wishing tree). I know I should be having more conversations about sustainability which I figure will come in time.. Next year I think I’ll also try and push the catch ups out to January and enjoy a slower December… maybe one day I’ll even book that log cabin on the lake…

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