I’ve read quite a few things online this week about how people choose to celebrate Christmas and I’ve found it hard not to take it as a personal attack.
There have been newspaper articles, blog posts and forum posts stating that:
- I’m spoiling my children and making them entitled little brats,
- I’m stressing myself out and ruining my own Christmas,
- I’m ruining Christmas for my kids and making them grow up too soon.
- I probably shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas at all really!
It’s funny how the opinions of people I don’t know – and that aren’t actually aimed at me -can really grate on me and bother me long after they’ve forgotten they even wrote it.
Modern parenting seems to be set up to pitch us against each other. Social media and the internet have made parenting a much more public event. I think we spend so much time overthinking each little decision that we become convinced we are right and by default that means people who do differently are automatically wrong.
Of course the actual point (like everything in parenting) is we’re all just trying to get by and to do what we think is right by our own children. And to be honest, while I may internally roll my eyes, if you’re not actually harming your children or mine I don’t really care what you do with your children.
So, probably completely unnecessarily – because after all why should you care – here are a few things we do and don’t do. (E is almost 8 and his little sister is 18 months, so I’m talking about both children but only one of them really cares either way!)
Go completely all out for advent– there are activities or little gifts for the 24 days. I like doing crafts with my children and I’ve found this is a good way of making sure I actually do all of the things I want to do with them.
Spoil our kids or drive ourselves crazy. Most of the ‘gifts’ come out every year and then go away to come out again next year- my 8 year old is genuinely excited to get his own things back!
Tell our children Santa is real or go out of our way to pretend he is. We’ve never intentionally gone to a grotto or ridden on a Christmas train. E is aware I don’t believe in Santa and if / when he asks me outright I fully intend on telling him the truth.
Let our children be children, E. generally starts getting excited about Christmas in October it doesn’t matter to him whether there’s magic involved. In the past few years we’ve started leaving food out for Santa because he saw it on a film and he wants to.
Spend a lot of time as a family and with our extended family, making memories, enjoying each other’s company and eating to excess.
Celebrate the birth of Christ. E is aware of the Christian basis for the celebration and its Pagan origins. He’s also aware that lots of cultures have a midwinter festival and that as atheists we can pick and choose how we celebrate.
So there you go, clearly I’m ruining them forever – and maybe I need to spend less time on the internet and read an actual book occasionally.