Traditions | The Life of K: Traditions

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I've never been a big fan of Christmas. When I was younger and my family had no money it was always stressful. Even if I didn't understand why, I could feel the stress. We didn't get the newest, hottest toys and wondered why our friends did. More recently I really feel like Christmas has been taken over by the stores and is so commercialized and rushed and expensive.

It doesn't have to be. Christmas is supposed to be all sorts of things, good things, fun things, family things. I want Christmas for Baby J to be different than it was for me. I want him to look forward to it, to sing carols with his dad, to enjoy and really cherish the presents he does get, and not worry about what his friends have. I also want to establish some traditions now.

Last year was Baby J's first Christmas. He was 4 months old so we didn't do anything special, except trying to make sure he slept enough while we were running around town seeing our friends and family. We managed that but didn't manage to change his diaper frequently enough and the poor guy had bad diaper rash. Lesson learned.

Because he was so young and we were still sorta figuring out the whole parenting thing, we flew through the holidays, just happy to sleep when we did. This year is the start of it all. I haven't been this excited for Christmas for a long time, if ever.

One of the traditions I'm planning on starting is basically a limit on the gifts Baby J and any future children will get from us. Sounds sad, but it leads directly to cherishing the gifts instead of coveting the latest and greatest and expecting a huge quantity of gifts. We're following the saying "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." so Baby J will be getting 4 presents from us.

We're also starting the tradition of a new pair of pajamas to be opened and worn Christmas Eve. I've heard about people who do this and knew I wanted it for my kids.

Other than that, I'm not entirely sure what to do. And I'm not at all sure how to deal with Santa. I definitely don't have it all figured out, but by the time Baby J is old enough to understand I'd like to have in place some traditions that hopefully will last a lifetime and will make Christmas less commercialized and more about family. What are your family traditions?


  1. We're busy sorting family traditions around our place too... with two fundamentally different cultural traditions (dec 5th vs dec 25th, elves and reindeer and a sleigh from the North Pole vs black clowns and a steam boat from Spain, etc...) and european relatives staying with us for three weeks, we really need to nail down what we're doing. Pronto.

    Thanks for the reminder about avoiding diaper rash while visiting!

  2. I like to try to imainge what things were like 150 years ago plus to give me a hint about how the holidays we celebrate shou;d go down. I love the idea of limiting gifts, it's not about accumulation. Another tip I'm going to snag from my upbringing is: santa can't come unless you clear off a shelf in your room since there would be no place to put the new stuff. It was a good exercise in avoiding accumulation, and could easily be turned into an opportunity to serve your community through donations, learning about less fortunate kids etc. well done, K.

  3. Our kids get one big toy from Santa and their stockings. Then the other smaller things are from us. This year since we're in Virginia and it's just going to be me and the kids, we're having a pre-Christmas. So there will be a big Santa present, and a present from us. Then their stockings will be Christmas morning down in the States. The limit is great especially as you have more kids to buy for. You don't want to set expectations high and then have to lower if you have more kids. I just try to remind the kids about the real meaning of Christmas and not just the present part of it!