Making Sense of the Season with a Three-Year-Old (who’s really two)
This is a picture of me taking the picture to go in our Christmas cards this year. I didn’t put the picture we chose up here because if you are a real, flesh and blood friend or relative, I will send you one and I want you to be surprised. It is RIDICULOUSLY cute!
Laylee loves Christmas so very much. I’m going out on a limb here but I think she loves Christmas even more than she loves her birthday, maybe even more than she loves Ducky. I know, I know. That could be taking things too far.
This is the first year she really really gets it. (we said that last year and I’m sure we’ll say it next year, but the point is, she gets it more this year than she has in the past.)
She’s stopped calling Rudolph Bambi and if you ask her what Christmas is, she’ll say, “It’s Jesus’s Birthday.” Then she will probably ask you for some cake. What’s a birthday without cake? (I have promised her that on His actual birthday we will make a beautiful white cake to celebrate, something my mom did every Christmas when we were kids.)
What I’m struggling with is striking a balance between the excitement and fun of all the celebrations that surround Christmas and the meaning of Christmas itself.
The world largely views Christmas as a time about Santa and snowmen, candy and presents. I want to teach my kids that all of these wonderfully fun celebrations have a root in something much more satisfying.
A log of a couple of my attempts to combat Christmas commercialism while still “putting the cookies out for Santa”:
-Handel’s Messiah sing-along in our living room today. I do a really sweet Tenor on that chorus that sounds like they’re saying “Oh WE LIKE SHEEP.” Picture me singing in a man’s falsetto “have gone a-stray-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay.” Nice.
-I try to explain about the symbolism behind things (candy cane=shepherd’s crook, Santa~charity, love and giving, Rudolf=I don’t know who came up with the glowing Rangifer tarandus etc.)
-One empty clear ball hangs on the tree. We explain that it is full of the Spirit.
- We have a little carved “wiseman box” and each year on Christmas Eve we each put one “gift for the Savior” in the box. It’s something like a resolution, something that would make Him happy. It’s Laylee’s first year to do this and I’m sure it will be something like, “Keep my panties dry for seven days so I can go to CHUKEE CHEESE!” but I’ll let her decide. I’m sure that would make Him happy too.
-Her favorite bedtime songs are The Angel Song (Angels we Have Heard on High) and Silent Night (and the “Turtle Song” but we won’t talk about that…not here…not now…not like this).
-Loveable, suckable nativity insures that she knows the names of the Holy Family and their posse of worshipful friends before she learns the names of Santa’s Reindeer.
Oh, here’s an outtake from last year’s Christmas card photos.