I get a little panicky when people start asking about my family's Christmas traditions. In truth, we didn't have any. Most of the time my dad had to work, but sometimes he didn't. Some years we opened the presents on Christmas morning, some years on Christmas Eve, and one year we opened them on the 23rd. We spent some holidays in Alabama with my extended family, but most were spent at home. My mother might be the least sentimental person ever. One year she opted for a "theme" tree and didn't hang any of my childhood ornaments. When I married she gave me all said ornaments. I love fresh trees and begged for one every year. My mom usually gave in, but when I was in high school she bought a fake tree on sale. Arrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!
I love Christmas. I love cold weather and trees and carols and hot chocolate and live nativities and Advent calendars and crowded church services. Working out the family togetherness gives me heartburn, but I really do love the whole season, especially now that I have children. We are trying to start some traditions for our kids. The year I was pregnant with Ethan my in-laws gave us a homemade Advent calendar. There are pockets for each day and in every pocket is a Bible verse or quote and something to attach to the Christmas tree on the calendar. Most of the items are personalized, such as an Alabama jersey or a tae kwon do top. I send out Christmas cards and this year we're even going to do a Christmas letter. We celebrate Christmas morning at our house, with just our family, then the extended family comes over later for breakfast and we open presents with them. We ALWAYS get a real tree. We open one present on Christmas Eve. We drive around and look at Christmas lights often. My husband and I set a dollar limit on gifts for each other, but gifts that fit in the stocking don't count (it's an unspoken rule). We draw names with his family. We adopt a family from the Care Center. We have 2 nativity scenes - both kid-friendly - my MIL made one and the other is the Fisher-Price plastic one.
One thing I am torn on, and welcome ideas about, is Santa Claus. I don't think he's evil or anything, and I agree that kids can learn about faith in God through faith in Santa. It's just, well, I don't like lying to my kids. I don't like telling Ethan this elaborate story and insisting it's true when it isn't. Not that I've never lied to him, but I really try not to. Honesty is important to me. I didn't believe in Santa for long - when I was 4 my dad took me outside and told me the truth - but my husband did and for him it was great fun. I want my kids to have fun and I don't want them to miss out, but still, I don't want to lie. Help?