Celebrating Christmas With Kids

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2013 was a great year. Jereme and I got almost everything we asked for this Christmas, which was really unexpected, but we are beyond grateful! Among the gifts we opened are a Ninja Mega Kitchen System, a new hard drive for my computer, which is making it run SO much faster, a travel carrier for Oskar and a pair of maternity yoga pants. Jereme got some craft beer and some new golf clubs as well.

But, the best Christmas gift of all was finding out that we are having a baby girl in April of next year. Her name is Indie Grace Lukoskie, and we can’t wait to meet her! Check out the video from our gender reveal party:

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Even though she hasn’t been born yet, Indie was graced with a few gifts of her own, including:

Some adorable bibs, onesies and her first book, God Gave Us You, from her cousin Kiersten:

baby gifts - bibs, onesies and book

Thanks, Cousin Kiersten!

A hand-knit baby blanket from her grandma:

baby gift - hand knit blanket

Thanks, Taita!

And a personalized baby blanket from her Aunt Melissa – the perfect item to add a touch of pink to her nursery:

baby gift - personalized blanket

Thanks, Aunt Melissa!

We are so thankful for everyone we got to celebrate with this year. Indie can’t wait to meet you all!

In addition to opening gifts for ourselves and our future baby girl, we also had the privilege of giving gifts and watching them be opened. It was especially fun seeing all the kids open theirs.

baby gift - personalized superhero cape

Super Cole, sporting his super-fly cape!

baby gift - toy cash register

Rory playing with her new toy cash register (and my credit card.)

Christmas without kids is fun, but, as I’ve heard other moms say, and as I witnessed myself this season, Christmas with kids is even more fun. I’m excited to experience this joy next December when we have Indie in our arms. (Or, if she’s truly the overachiever the ultrasound tech said she is, perhaps she’ll already be on her own two feet!)

That said, Jereme and I do intend to do things a little differently on holidays when it comes to our children. You may recall my recent post: “Celebrating Halloween With Kids,” where I talked about trick-or-treating and protecting them from the evils of GMOs, processed sugars and chemicals that are in most of today’s commercially-sold candy.

Call me hipster, crunchy or granola. When it comes to Christmas, I’m sure we’ll  also get a few snub-nose looks and snide remarks from other moms who don’t agree with our choices. But, it’s all good. You raise your children your way, and we’ll raise our children our way, and I’m betting that both ways will probably yield similar results – happy, healthy children with happy, healthy parents. I’m a big proponent of the idea that every family should do what works best for them.

Here are some of the choices we are already considering, when it comes to our kids on Christmas and other holidays:

Choice 1: There Will Be Lots of K.I.S.S. – ing

As in, when it comes to gifts, “Keep It Simple Sista” and “shower them with kisses, not stuff.” I vaguely remember Christmas as a 5-year-old.

So. Much. Stuff.

Santa was very  good to me that year. And so were my parents and siblings. It was insane how many gifts I opened.

Some parents love to shower their children with toys and games galore, and more power to them. Jereme and I have already decided that we will be minimalists when it comes to holidays (and lots of other things).

Small intimate gatherings will likely be favored over huge parties.

Yes, we will give them gifts, and I’m sure they’ll be spoiled by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

But, in the interest of their future, and in the interest of keeping our home sane and livable, we respectfully request that our children do not receive a bunch of mind-numbing, plastic, electronic toys or creepy dolls that pee and poop. Dress-up clothes, wooden blocks, puzzles, musical instruments, old-school games (you know – the ones with boards and pieces), Legos, books for reading and books for coloring, trips to the park – anything that stimulates learning and the imagination (preferably without a screen or a keyboard) – they will happily receive.

And kisses. Lots and lots of kisses.

Choice 2: Santa, Please Don’t Come To Our House

We’ve already written a letter and sent it to the North Pole respectfully requesting that the jolly fat man and his eight tiny reindeer pass right over our one-story home in Highland Creek on the night of December 24. In a nutshell, we won’t be doing the whole Santa thing…

This was originally Jereme’s idea, and I had my concerns. But the more I think about it, the more I agree.

To me, Santa represents everything that’s wrong with Christmas in America. It has become an overly commercialized holiday that feeds into our culture’s greed and sense of entitlement, resulting in ungrateful young people who grow up thinking the world owes them even more. It’s a holiday  centered on opening as many gifts as possible from a big guy in a red suit that my child will never meet unless she goes to the nearest mall. And we won’t be taking her there to meet him, either.

Why?

In almost every photo I’ve ever seen of kids on Santa’s lap (with the exception of my nephew Gabe who is the happiest baby in the world, and Damon Santos who is probably the second happiest baby in the world) the poor tots look like they’re being tortured to death. Screaming so hard, they’re red in the face with tears streaming down their chubby little cheeks. No thanks, Santa. I’d rather not scare my child and then laugh at the pictures later. I don’t really think it’s all that cute and funny to watch.

Instead of celebrating the magic of Santa, we’ll be celebrating the miracle of Jesus. That is, after all, the real reason for the season, and I hope our decisions will support that.

I’ve gotten lots of flack when I’ve told people that Santa won’t be coming to our home. They say, things like: “oh but it’s so fun, you’ll change your mind.” And “but Santa came to your house when you were a kid, and you turned out okay.” Both of which are true. But I think for kids, it’s just as much fun to be spoiled by your family members who know you personally and love you, and to be graced with the love of Jesus whose gift of salvation is better than any Christmas miracle we could ever dream up.

Choice 3: Keep It Real

This is a life choice, in general, and not so much specific to celebrating holidays. But I thought it was applicable, and therefore, worth mentioning.

Jereme and I want to be very honest with our kids. We don’t want to shelter them. We don’t want them to fear things in this world because they weren’t made aware of them at an early age. We want them to see and experience life to the fullest.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I welcome any and all comments on this post. I know there are lots of people whose choices will be very different from ours, but differences make life interesting, right? 🙂

How are you choosing to celebrate Christmas, and other holidays, with your children?

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