Merry Christmas!! I hope that everyone has had a great holiday. We kept ours low key because I can't really go anywhere and since the baby will be born in January there is no point for relatives to fly in and then turn around and come back. Too costly.
So over Christmas Eve we spent time with some friends of ours who have three children. I've never asked them before; I don't know why. But we were talking about Christmas traditions. Apparently, their kids don't know Santa Claus. Not that that's a big deal because I'm pretty sure that hubby and I have decided not to have Santa Claus as the Christmas tradition. My friends give their children gifts on Christmas day, but they don't tell them that they are from Santa. They tell them who they are really from. Hubby and I grew up with the whole imaginary jolly guy who comes down your chimney, but we don't want to lie to our kids.
That being said, I do believe in having Christmas traditions and there are a ton of them. Some of them I would like to have and some I feel are a bit more optional. Here's my list:
Definitely want to have
1) Celebrate Feast of Saint Nicholas with small gifts- there was a real Saint Nick but he doesn't have anything to do with Jesus's birth
2) Celebrate Christmas Day- discussion of Jesus's birth is a must and so is Mass attendance. I suppose gifts are okay, but not too many
3) Celebrate Epiphany- big gifts are totally cool since this is all about wise men bringing extremely important and expensive gifts to baby Jesus for use
4) Decorating for Christmas- ie the Christmas tree although I will have to put away breakable ornaments and stick to having the kid(s) make their own
Things to pick from as traditions
1) Creation of an Advent Calendar- I've heard of things as simple as opening a window to get a piece of candy to moving around a baby Jesus on a felt calendar
2) Lighting of an Advent Wreath- this is a bit dangerous for young children so not something I'm really wanting to do. Perhaps if I could find candles that were battery operated that would be better.
3) Making a Jesse Tree- I'm all for crafts, but again not exactly easy for small children.
4) Creating a Ginger Bread House
5) Decorating Christmas Cookies
6) Setting up a Scene for the Christmas Creche- this is totally a Latin American tradition so far everything has been very European motivated. Christmas Creche's can get real elaborate and usually you have Mary and Joseph slowly moving towards the stable
7) Looking at Christmas Lights
8) Go Caroling- hubby probably won't go for that one because singing is not his thing
9) Making Christmas Crackers- I know it's totally British
There is a lot to choose from. I'm not sure how the grandparents are going to take us being so European motivated. Ah well. Christmas is supposed to be about Christ's birth.
Oh, and also I don't think we're going to have a tooth fairy and an Easter Bunny. There are other ways to celebrate Easter without dying eggs and hiding them. For example the Stations of the Cross during Lent, Palm Sunday processions, a Seder meal, a Last Supper reenactment, and Crafts with things like crosses and lambs. Yeah I know I'm totally not cool for not giving into the whole going with Pagan traditions of eggs and rabbits.
As my friend explained, you're supposed to be celebrating a religious holiday adding Pagan elements and saying it's religious is not cool. It's worse than commercializing Saint Nicholas. Oh, and for the record the 12 days of Christmas come AFTER Christmas day. I don't understand why Americans think that it is before. It's to prepare you for Epiphany.