• Kelsey Petersen

Stop telling everyone how to do Christmas

Like most of you, I love this time of year. I love watching Christmas lights pop up around my neighborhood. I love the messy stack of Christmas books piled in the corner of my living room. I love sticky hot cocoa kisses, chubby figurines representing the nativity, candles that smell like baked goods. I have my Christmas movie "must-sees" and an epic Christmas playlist. It's just the best time to be alive, right? And truly, the only thing more magical than being a kid at Christmastime is being a parent at Christmastime.


Continuing Christmas traditions that I've been doing since I was young and creating new ones as a growing family has been one of the biggest joys of parenthood for me. I also love hearing about other people's family traditions. It's so fun to hear the different ways people celebrate this special day.


Something that is a little bothersome, though, is the little preachy posts floating around social media. Posts about giving experiences for presents instead of gifts. About not letting kids get expensive items from Santa so that other kids whose parents are on a tighter budget don't feel jipped by the man in red. (Or even saying to omit Santa altogether because it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas, it's lying to your kids, etc, etc.) Some people are super anti Elf on the Shelf and appalled that other parents have the nerve to add one more nightly task to their already busy schedule. Some people follow the rule of thumb to buy their kids something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read, while other parents go a little heavy-handed with the toy buying. Everyone has an opinion on what's best and, thanks to social media, we all have the chance to share it. Which leads me to my point and sharing what I personally think is best... EVERYONE, MIND YOUR OWN BEES WAX!


Do you hate Elf on the Shelf? Don't do it. When your kids ask why Sally down the street has one and they don't, tell them that it's not a tradition your family takes part in.


Do you think kids should get three gifts each? Perfect. Do it. Experiences instead of presents? Go for it! You want to tell them that Santa isn't real? Fine. Maybe let them know how important of a tradition it is for some families so as not to spoil the fun.The point is, you do what you want, but don't knock others for the way they celebrate. Be slower to judge people who you think are too extravagant. Maybe some parents hold off buying toys all year long except for on Christmas. (I know I do!) Maybe some parents actually quite enjoy plotting the different scenarios they will place their elf in each night. Maybe some parents find a great way to tie in Santa Clause and Jesus Christ.


As for the most sensitive topic---economic inequality...well, that has always been a thing and sadly, it always will be. I was one of six kids, I never got a Barbie Jeep that I could drive myself. My neighbor got one, and I hardly thought twice about it. I was just grateful for everything that I did get and for parents that worked hard to make Christmas magical for me. They created an environment where Christmas was more about how we felt than what we got. It's something I strive to do with my little family. Comparison is the thief of joy! This holiday season, focus on your family's tradition and the great joy it brings you!


Merry Christmas, Everyone!







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