Back in the summer, when job prospects were looking a little glum, I cheerfully broached the idea of an old fashioned Christmas with my girls and Mark. Yes, it seemed a touch early to be talking about Christmas while we were swimming outside in 35 degree weather. But I'm a bit of a planner, and I thought resetting expectations way in advance would be better. Mostly, it is because I'm a planner though as my girls are easily pleased with the simple thoughtful things in life.
It's mid-November now and Operation Old-Fashioned Christmas is about to launch. Here's three steps we are taking right now.
Firstly, despite Mark's love of watching cartoons with the girls on Friday nights and Saturday mornings ( and I'm often right there with them because I too love superhero cartoons!) I'm going to request a moratorium on that. Simply to avoid the bombardment of ads. R and L don't know we have cable because we didn't for two years. So most of what they watch is on DVD or PBS or Food Network. Hence, no barrage of awesome new toys they couldn't possibly live without. But, when we do have the TV on to, say, Cartoon Network all I hear is their fascination with the commercials. No tv, no commercials, no requests for stuff.
Secondly, despite my love of shopping, especially when the shopping centres are all fancified up for Christmas, we aren't going to the mall until after the holidays. We will go see the window displays if there are any, but avoiding all the new "essential" stuff is easier if you don't see it. And I'm not just talking kids stuff. I'm so guilty of seeing things I come to believe I need. Also, this way, Mark won't be forced to cockpunch someone for being an ignorant a-hole and slamming into us or exhibiting any other belligerent behaviour.
Thirdly, we aren't going to do Christmas lists. I've never perpetuated the Santa myth. Which frankly is odd because I grew up in a house where if you believed, your stocking would be full so we pretended for a long tone. And, I love the book The Polar Exoress (it's a book people!). Maybe it is my love for that story and the boy's simple request for a sleigh bell that influences my lack of Santa requests. Now, I can't do anything but bite my lip and sit on my hands when the dual sets of grandparents repeatedly ask what my girls want from Santa and have they written a letter yet.
But I can redirect their energy and focus to: what should we bake? What should we eat? What should we read? What should we watch? Whom should we visit? What street should we drive or walk along to see the lights. And most importantly, what church should we take Baby C to for her first Christmas mass?
I will write more about how our plans for an old-fashioned Christmas are coming along soon. And about our favourite traditions ( spoiler alert: revolves around food). But for now, I'm wondering, is there anything you might try differently this year to take the emphasis off the gift list? And any advice for neutralizing the grandparents effect?