The Christmas Checklist Worth Having

If you are a parent, you will understand the struggle that is Christmas with kids. As a mom, I know that feeling of wanting to give your kids everything. To check everything they wanted off on their wishlist for Santa. To have the big Christmas morning with tons of gifts to open. And I admit, we’ve had those fair share of Christmases but this year I want to do things a bit different. Because after the excitement and rush of opening gifts is over and the wrapping paper is tossed, there is something very anticlimactic about receiving everything you wanted and the almost overwhelming feeling that comes with there being too much “stuff.”

Last year, Cole begged and begged for a Star Wars Stormtrooper. It was one of the things he really wanted, which we did give him along with a whole bunch of other stuff. He literally played with that Stormtrooper for about 10 minutes and I’ve only seen him actually play with it a few times this entire past year. I know he couldn’t even tell you what all was on his wishlist last year & what gifts he received. In all the abundance of stuff, he couldn’t really appreciate each thing. But here’s what he does remember about last year. The cookies and gingerbread house we made together, the Christmas movies we watched, decorating the tree, going sledding with his cousins, the matching pajamas we wore on Christmas eve, and the silly things our Elf on the Shelf did. It’s the traditions and the time together that are most meaningful, even for a young kid. I love seeing how excited he gets as we check off each of our traditions during the Christmas season, rather than focus on what gifts will be under the tree. This year we are adding a toy drive to our holiday traditions checklist, and we will be taking our gifts and donations to the local children’s hospital. Yes there will be gifts under our tree, but we are keeping it to smaller things and things that can be enjoyed together (think books and games).

Each year it seems that the holidays become more and more commercialized. I remember as a kid, black Friday happened on Friday. Now it starts the week before and stores are even open on Thanksgiving. In all this pursuit of more stuff, the meaning and the magic of the holiday has gotten lost. When the gifts are long forgotten, it’s the feelings and memories that will remain. And those are the greatest gifts of all.

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