Apollo XIV (17 months)
"You don't celebrate Christmas?!" was the most common response we got when Chuck and I announced, early in our marriage, that we didn't plan to put up a Christmas tree or exchange gifts. It amazed us that by simply choosing not to participate in one tradition (tree with presents) the rest was disregarded. We did and do celebrate Christmas, it just doesn't involve a tree or presents.
A couple of readers asked if we don't put up a tree for "religious reasons". Wow, that's a loaded question. I suppose the answer is yes and no. Yes, because I don't think we'd celebrate Christmas if we weren't Christians, and no in the sense that we don't believe it is "wrong" or "sinful". We're not offended by anyone's tree or presents or belief in Santa.
It comes down to our basic philosophy on family and parenting. We didn't want our children overwhelmed with stuff. We wanted them to appreciate the small things in life. We didn't want our traditions to all revolve around getting stuff. We wanted to focus to be on Christ and his birth, not buying gifts. Or making gifts. As a result we've put a lot of thought (and effort) into making the entire month of December a celebration of Christ's birth, which culminates, on Christmas morning, with "stockings" for our children.
I put stockings in quotes because most years it is the children's rubber boots lined up. In them are small gifts…a orange, a candy cane and a few other small things. Nothing big, but enough to make the day special.
Someone asked if we had a Nativity scene…we have three. All set out for the children to play with through the month of December. Tilly blogged about it here. Two sharp readers found this post for me. I searched in vain for a post I know I made showing how we had the Nativity scenes out in baskets with books about Christmas, but I can't find that either.
Any other questions? I'll do my best to answer.