Monday, February 17, 2014
final thoughts on christmas
I know it is super late to be posting more thoughts about Christmas, but for some reason I want to go ahead and put this post up. I've been thinking about our Christmasses and what works for us and what doesn't, and year after year (since we've been doing it this way), this advent calendar is a sweet, fun, non-materialistic ritual that the kids and I get a huge kick out of. I've written about it each year for a number of years now. Basically, I have this "vintage" advent calendar wall hanging that my mom made from a kit back in the 70's (or maybe even 1969??) and she passed it down to me a number of years ago. I love it! When we were little she'd tie on small gifts or candies, and I've done it that was as well, but about 5 years ago I switched to this "advent village" theme. Each item is wrapped and tied onto the wall hanging (photo #3) and the boys take turns unwrapping one each day and placing it in the "village" (photo #4). I have some light up houses that I thrifted and that stable and the vintage bottle brush trees are from my mom. That piece of blue felt is a "lake." As advent progresses the village fills in. They boys have fun arranging and rearranging the village.
We just have so much fun with this. I've noticed some moms around blogdom feeling frustrated by their advent calendar traditions. I highly recommend this one! I keep it a little bit exciting by adding two "new" items for days one and two. This year it was a wooden shepherd boy and a wooden racoon. I'm dying to find a snowman someday. The rest of the stuff is saved items we use from year to year and things from around the house--wooden animals from the farm, etc.
Also, on the topic of Christmas, and then I will move on. I think we really need to restructure our thinking about gifts and material stuff around the holidays. My boys don't need that many toys, and what they do need they already have. Mostly they play with blocks, marbles, Hero Factories (Rainer) and books, art supplies and paper, and games on the computer (Dieter). I just did a huge room clean-out of the boys' rooms and ended up tossing or donating so much of what they received. We also donated a lot of books because we just don't have much space for storing even nice books.
I think there needs to be a major paradigm shift around Christmas. Instead of giving material presents, lets exchange handmade cards and letters, or experiences with each other (a trip to the beach, a meal out, a movie), or plan a trip or something. I feel so stongly about this! I wonder if this is true for most kids today--that they play with fewer toys.
As far as what we (Ken and I) got the boys, I had the idea to get them scooters and they were a hit! Both boys love their scooters and Rainer still rides his in the house as a daily pleasure. His is a Maxi-Micro scooter and Dieter got a Razor scooter. The Maxi turned out to be the best. The boys kind of fight over it a little bit. Everything else they received has been sort of cast aside. Sad, but true. They still totally have creative childhoods. They draw, build marble runs, build with blocks, take down and reassemble Hero Factories, act out pretend scenarios, read (mostly Dieter) and they are active outdoors and do swim team and take piano lessons. Having lots of toys is just not part of that.
I'd love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share!