I have childhood memories of tiptoeing down the stairs, wondering what Santa brought, and I see the same thing happening in my children. I want their eyes to widen with excitement and to have a mystery brewing in their hearts, but I also don’t want them to be self-absorbed stinkers who think all they have to do is eat their vegetables and put their dishes in the sink to be showered with shallow gifts.
As much as I preach to my kids about how Christmas isn’t about the gifts, the truth is it’s all about the gifts for them now, just as it is for nearly every small child. When they’re adults looking cross-eyed at their own children’s Christmas wish lists, I hope their memories will turn to knowing nods of appreciation. They’ll understand that although this season is wrapped in magic and joy, the adults are behind the curtain, working feverishly to make said magic and joy seem effortless.
In this sense, perhaps I put on such a production out of fear of being forgotten by them one day.
Although I don’t have the self-restraint to cut back on the gifts, I will start incorporating simple traditions that will help us tap back into the true spirit of Christmas. I don’t have a fiddle, and I’d rather be playing with my kids than making figgy pudding, so we’ll have to find something that works for us in the present day. Although they’re never going to sing and dance over the thought of a goose and figgy pudding, I have a feeling if they’re anything like their mama, it will be the little things they’re going to remember most one day anyway.
Rebecca Rine is a writer living in Kettering with her family. Her work can be found on jaggedjourney.com.