There was a time I hated Christmas. Grinch much? I despised that stores put out decor before Thanksgiving and sometimes before Halloween. It seems to get earlier and earlier every year. The commercialism and the overspending drove me nuts. Then I had kids and the joy of Christmas was renewed for me. There is nothing better than being a kid on Christmas except being a parent on Christmas.
From Bug's first Christmas I knew I didn't want to overdo the presents on Christmas. I didn't want the holiday to be stressful and I didn't want it to be all about the presents. I wanted it to be more about spending time together and giving to others. It is so easy to get caught up in the season though and go overboard. When it comes to my kids, I love to give them presents.
This year, we are really trying to cut back though and make it more about the time than the presents. The kids already have so much stuff. This year I have been trying to de-clutter and get rid of things we no longer use. This goes for toys too. I really want the gifts we give to the kids to be meaningful instead of just numbers for them to open. I want them to feel thankful that they got new toys. To help me stick with my goal I wrote a list of what I want to get the kids and am really trying to stick to it. I also asked that family not get the kids any gifts this year.
I took another plunge and sold our Elf, I am hoping I won't regret this decision come December 1st. The elf is cute, and the kids got so excited last year to find it. They love the Elf on the Shelf movie but I don't like the emphasis on the negative with the elf. I want to focus on the positive of the season. I saw a post about Kindness Elves on facebook. _ I absolutely loved the idea. I talked to J about it and he agreed. So I took the plunge and sold our elf. We still have the stuffed elf and plan to use this as our Kind Elf. He will arrive on December 1st, I may try to find a girl elf also.
My plan is to move the elf every night just like the other one. The kids love finding him, but each morning he will leave a little note for them. The note will either be something kind he witnessed somebody doing the day before or something kind we can do that day for others, whether it is baking cookies for a neighbor or donating food to the food pantry. I really want to take the focus away from not being "naughty" to being kind. The kids will also be able to touch and hug the elf if they want too. I think that is important.
What do you think? How do you keep the focus of Christmas on more than just the presents?