Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Parenting

Christmas is looming, which means decisions. As the girls understand more and more, I have to step up my protective barriers against materialism, and other earthly evils. I have a hard time with this. I found Halloween season absolutely exhausting. I was constantly trying to keep an eye on what the girls were watching on t.v. because at any given moment something evil could pop up under the guise of "nice" ("good witches" and "nice ghosts," etc.). I don't want to keep the girls so separate from the world that they can't function in it, but I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to priorities at Christmastime.

I haven't always had a problem with Santa. Until last year, I was perfectly fine with his presence. Then I had a sudden realization that children aren't capable of understanding that eternal salvation is more exciting than a Barbie doll. They shouldn't be expected to prioritize the Sovereign God taking human form over a fat guy who brings them lots of cool stuff. (I wrote my thoughts on this subject extensively in this post from last year.) It takes parenting to keep them from this all too common pitfall, and the challenge is daunting.

Like most things, it's all about finding the proper balance. I definitely want the girls to respect the decisions of other parents (and I DO NOT think it's wrong to incorporate Santa Clause into Christmas celebrations). I want to be careful about how I handle this. It isn't sinful to play a nice game of pretend (though lying is), but I prefer to keep any distractions that could steal attention and affection from Jesus out of the way.

So, here I am, mentally planning how we will celebrate, wondering how to direct the thoughts of a toddler and a preschooler to Christ. I have a little time, which is good because an infinite God being born in the finite form of an infant is a BIG DEAL, which warrants plenty of thought.


David and Katie Kizziah said...

Oh, thank you for the challenge, my friend. I pray that I will join you in attempting to remove anything that could distract. like you said, "attention and affection" from Christ this season. You may have it, but Noel Piper's book - Treasuring Christ in Our Traditions - gives some good, practical ways to do this. Keep thinking though and please share some of the ways you come up with too, Miss Creative One! (I still sometimes find myself thinking of your "Green Eggs & Ham" during your nanny-ing days :) To be that creative...

Brooke said...

We make Jesus a birthday cake. I have a cake nativity thing that we put on the top. Then we sing happy birthday and blow out the candle. We even had party hats last year. The kids got really into it. They are looking forward to it this year. Of course Stinkerbell didn't really get it last year but she still had fun. Then after that we read them the Christmas story. It's our tradition that I love and it helps keep us grounded.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Yes...we did this the wrong way (in my opinion) with James and Elisbeth but now we get a "do over" with Lottie and Emma. We do birthdays really big and then for Christmas we do hardly anything. One big present under the tree for each little one and stuff in their stockings from Santa.

I heard Dr. Dobson talk about Santa one day on the radio. He talked about how it is healthy for little ones to believe in Santa because it is someone that they really never know; they never see his house....everything is based on faith that he exists. Dr. Dobson went on to explain that this is a great set up for them believing in Jesus. Lottie already knows there is no Santa....because she asked me and I couldn't lie...she was so terrified of all of the Santa's at the mall that we had to have a grown up girl talk about it. But she still thinks he is pretty awesome and gets excited wondering what Santa will bring.

I know what you is hard because we want it to be about the birth of Jesus....which is what it is all about. You are very creative Hannah...I can't wait to hear about some of your ideas.
(Wow...that was really long...sorry;)

Sarah Broadus said...

Hi from one of your blog stalkers! We give our preschooler a christmas project like operation christmas child, we set up the navity and stuff early, we leave a present for santa, and in return santa leaves a small santa sack of gifts. we don't get toys any other time of year (not even birthdays!) But usually the week before thanksgiving we clean out the "playroom" and any toy that is in great condition but doesnt get much love we take to the local children's home. That way our preschool learns giving is just as fun as receiving and that we can serve Jesus in many ways! Good luck, you will find a great thing for your family to do!!

Hannah A. said...

Brooke, I'm using several of the ideas that you used last year. You did a great job!