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Done With Pumpkins - Time for Presents

'Tis the season, after all.

My husband and I talked recently about how we want to treat the holiday season. We have an interesting dilemma, as both of us have a background of traditional fundamental Christianity, as well as cultural mainstream America's propagation of the Santa Claus myth. Neither of us wish to indoctrinate a belief in Santa Claus to our children, so that is settled enough. The religious aspect isn't quite as easy. I no longer hold any real religious belief. My husband still considers himself a Christian, though not a practicing one. He wishes to teach the "true meaning of Christmas", whereas I'd rather celebrate the holiday season as more of a celebration of our cultural identity (we are Irish-American) and follow those traditions.

I think we have made a decent compromise. A secular celebration of the Yule season, with the addition of heartfelt gift-giving (my favourite part of Christmas) at our home, and taking part in the American traditional Christmas with our family elsewhere. Will we have a tree? Perhaps. Last year we hung pine boughs on the walls and strung them with lights. It looked plenty festive, and we maintained use of our living room. Will we tell the story of the Nativity? Why not? I plan on teaching the myths of Zeus, Odin, Ra, Cu Chulainn, and Pecos Bill to my children as well, and a diverse knowledge of world cultures is never a bad thing.

That said - we come to the difficult part: What to give as gifts? How many? How can I give the best gifts for the least money? Should I make something or buy something?

Recently, I was perusing the forums of's Frugal Living section (those ladies know how to pinch a penny until it screams for mercy!) and came across an interesting solution to the perceived NEED to fill a floor with presents on the morning of 25th December. Several ladies implied they give four gifts per family member:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

I am intrigued by this. By limiting the children right away to four gifts, and allowing them to know that the gifts are financed by Mom and Dad (as opposed to falling from a reindeer-drawn carriage), we just might prevent the attitude of "That's ALL?!?" I grew up around in my childhood home. I would much rather give four meaningful gifts than a truckload of junk for the same price.

And now, the search begins. This year, I have two to shop for - and thus, eight gifts. Make that seven - I found my hubby's "Something to read" at Borders last week. Wish me luck!


MomlovesJason said...

I like the magic and wonder that goes along with the story of Santa...and that first letter to santa (mine continued through college) Sort of like the characters at Disney being make believe. I remember asking my Mom about Santa and she replied that if Santa's not real who will bring the presents. I still believe...and the presents still say Santa.

I love the four presents idea, I dont think I could implement it. I want to be practical on 363 days out of the year. Birthdays and Christmas I get to play Santa. It is tricky to do it and not use credit cards or set your self back doing it. I've started early and we only buy for the kids in our family.

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