Monday, December 20, 2010
Keeping the Christmas Magic
I feel thankful this year that my 8-year-old still believes in Santa. I can tell she is fighting hard to keep believing. She is a smart cookie, and she knows there are some inconsistencies, but she keeps on believing. Even in the face of friends who tell her that they don't believe in Santa, she keeps believing. I tell her "I guess they won't be getting a present from Santa, then."
Where is "Myths and Fables and Good Parenting for Dummies?" when you need it? We were watching the Santa Clause 2 last night, and my 4 1/2 year old was quizzing me about the tooth fairy. "Is our tooth fairy a Boy or a Girl?" "Where does our tooth fairy live?" and on....and on.... The pressure of answering these questions is almost as bad as worrying about your kids growing up to be fine, upstanding citizens one day. No one wants to ruin all the little hopes and dreams these guys have. The upside is, I'm confident my daughter will help keep her brother believing once she finds out Santa is more a spirit than a person.
So this brings me to the seasonal struggle. My children are fortunate to have a home, food, a good school. How do you balance allowing them to enjoy the magic of the season, without letting them get spoiled by all of it? I would like to think we do a good job, but I did jump on Amazon.com last night for the "one last thing" that I heard both of them mention. There are no tantrums, no demands, just nicely printed lists and requests. (My daughter's list was only 3 items so she could help ensure that she got what she wanted).
To keep the spirit of the season in mind, we have always donated toys to local charities. The kids see the toys, help pack them up, and understand where they are going. I hope this instills them with the idea that Christmas is just as much about giving as it is about receiving. This year, a friend of mine has been very involved in the Toy Drive for children hospitalized at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Her own son went through multiple surgeries there after his birth last year, and now she is paying it forward. We got to hand off our big bag of toys to one of her elves yesterday, and hope they bring lots of smiles to the kids at CNMC. Thank you Leigh-Ann for being selfless (I don't know how you find the time for this, but I'm glad you did).
So what is the right answer? My kids will have the gifts they hope for under the tree this year, but I hope we have helped them to see that there is so much more to this season. I guess only time will tell. (So far, they are both on the "Nice" list).