All the Glittery Things: Christmas and Kids

As most of you know, I’m not above buying my baby something just because it’s cute.

Here's one piece of evidence.

Here’s one piece of evidence.

But I really want to try and keep Christmas from turning into a holiday that’s all about things and more things. Growing up, we had pretty big Christmases, meaning my parents bought us a lot, and I remember them very fondly, but not very many are vivid. The year it snowed and I got a trick bike, now I remember that. But what’s more memorable is the year I donated one of my gifts, a sweater I really wanted, to someone else.

We are trying to start some traditions this year, even though Mae is unaware. So far, we’ve come up with two traditions to help steer Christmas away from being totally focused on gifts.


1. Our kindness elf. Mae’s Tutu, or grandmother, gave her a kindness elf with 25 acts of kindness to perform in the days leading up to Christmas. They are handwritten on colorful squares of paper, and they are so special. I can’t wait to share this with Mae.

2. We are enacting the something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, something to read rule. This means she’ll get four gifts from us plus stocking stuffers. Once again, I know she’ll enjoy the wrapping paper more than the gifts this year, but we are trying to start traditions that we want to stick.

When you add gifts from family members to this, she’ll get more than enough. Not to mention, she gets all the hand-me-downs from her older cousins all year; the child wants for nothing.

But I wonder how this will be in the future? Will Mae balk at her small pile compared to other children’s? Will we cave under that pressure?

But I know that moments and experiences make Mae happier than toys. She’d much rather dance with us or jingle a bell or crunch leaves under her feet than play with a plastic toy. I want to encourage this. I want her to love people and places and experiences, not things.

Today, we had to wait for an hour for the doctor to see us. We were in a small room, and I didn’t want her to touch anything (germs!). It was a challenge. We read a book. She ate puffs. We looked at everything on the walls. She was a squirm worm, and then I pulled up the blinds, and lo and behold, a large window facing the woods. She sat and stared at the trees moving in the strong wind for five whole minutes. She sat still. She was mesmerized more by the trees than Elmo or puffs.

mae at window

I’m not always going to succeed at this, but I want to try. I don’t want to give her so many glittery, shiny things that the trees aren’t magical anymore.


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