Christmas is upon us.
And so I realize…
it’s a tad late for masterminding the perfect haul for each and all.
Just a few last minute tips, ideas, and thoughts then.
To help ‘hem in’ what’s left hanging,
and to wish you:
Less stuff. Less kerfuffle. Less stress and concern.
However little or much you’ve amassed under your bed,
however full or frantic your Santa sack,
my wish for you is
of inner peace these next few silent, holy nights.
Walking in and out of stores — remember to breathe and smile!
Remember — “their whim does not rule your will.”
Getting lost in the planning?
Please let yourself off the hook!
This is the most important thing you will do this Christmas:
letting yourself be loved & adored with all your imperfections.
Hoping for another spectacular gift idea?
Well….let me see if I can help!!
(If you missed Part 1 it’s got loads of ideas too!)
My kids learned early on that Santa is not a genie in a bottle
and rarely gives exactly what they ask for.
I think that’s healthy.
An ounce of disappointment is a good inoculation.
A reminder that the centre of the universe exists elsewhere.
The Amish term for it — “uffgevva” — means:
“you are not any more important than anyone else.”
To ‘reverse engineer’ the perfect Christmas list
let’s begin by dismantling a few things.
- You do not owe your child a debt of pleasure to compensate for your failings (and I say this with love, knowing that I myself often succumb to this thought pattern! If that Guilt voice has had a say in your Christmas shopping, consider saying ‘hush up’ & bravely decide to top up their love tank with your presence instead of presents)
- It doesn’t actually matter what they want! Children are not meant to know what they want, yet. (More about that in a minute)
- Where does a gift come from? Each present under the tree is there because of a train of thought that started somewhere. Did you realize that? Before you saw it on the shelf, or in an ad, or on their list, it did not exist to you. What if you could see the true, invisible list your child’s soul is writing to you? That’s what the real Santa sees!
I want to give gifts that originate from a real place.
A gift that has substance — that has been wrestled down from heaven to earth — truly nourishes a child.
Wrapped in fabric rather than paper, the gift takes on a deep warmth — an ordinary object from a thrift store is transformed when it is cradled in velvet, satin, soft wool, or even an intricate doily.
I just finished my wrapping and it takes my breath away to see all the little $1, $2, $3 (and free!) items I’ve picked up for their stockings nestled together so soft and inviting. So magical.
What’s in their stockings?
Three random hockey cards. A couple of unique (used) hot wheel cars, a little notebook each, a deck of playing cards each, a carved deer, a beaded hummingbird, a ring of keys, a miniature cast iron typewriter, a few tiny painting canvases, a small ceramic jug, a lollypop from the farmer’s market.
To quote my Waldorf mentor:
Childhood is a time for “introducing them to the panorama of life.”
One of our jobs is to avoid “awakening” their “astrality.”
What does that even mean?
It is about keeping their sense of desire, preference, choice, and wanting toned down to a minimum.
At its very foundation, Waldorf pedagogy understands and works with child development in 3 phases — (the Physical, the Etheric, and the Astral).
Without getting into too much detail, here’s what I find helpful:
The first 7 years are a time for strengthening the body and grounding the will.
Most importantly, it is NOT a time for giving kids a lot of opportunity to practise choosing, liking, not liking, and getting what they want.
(Yet our culture glorifies the capacity to choose and prefer and want and sees no problem with granting these powers to toddlers!!)
Hang on to your eyebrows. We’re not done yet…
The next 7 years are also NOT yet the time for awakening the capacities of desire.
We are to subdue their propensity towards obsessive fad-loving, movie-induced gotta-have-it merchandise.
We are to keep them OUT of those dynamics of polarity and WE, the parents, are to lead them into the panorama of life that we believe to be beautiful, valuable, and worthy.
This has been profound for my family.
If I could give every brand new parent one token of advice it would be to stand guard here.
Protect innocence, cultivate wonder, subdue desire, practise ‘magic minimalism.’
In my online course: Cultivating the Canopy (coming soon) we do just that.
It is very, very important to me to honour their desires. Their worthy desires. If they align with our values.
I want them to feel heard; never to despair that Santa doesn’t care!
(The thought of disappointing them breaks my heart….yet I refuse to let that fear be my impetus. Fear must not be the point of origin of a gift!)
So I need to find a way to both honour and transcend their list.
Really, my guys are not hung up on anything they’ve asked for.
(Madelyn wants a baby polar bear this year. Um……strike that one?)
Because I have trained my kids from the beginning, I can get away with anything.
Many years Santa has written back with good excuses as to why they did not get the lego or the scooter they wanted.
My other secret is this:
Separate the magical and the worldly.
Santa does what he does (no plastics, no brand names, etc) but there’s always the Grandma and Grandpa factor.
They can have their lego from other sources.
That’s how I work it, but you create the mythology that works for you.
Do what feels heavenly!
Be not a victim of their lusts, or your own guilt, or our culture’s madness.
But also, take it easy on yourself. It’s challenging! These ideas may be new to you, and Christmas is upon us already, so don’t let me induce any last minute panic. Just thoughtfully observe what comes up for you and be the powerful free agent that you are.
You are a Parent! Which is a lot like being God!
You get to choose and design and lead and invite them into the panorama of life as you see fit.
A few more ideas before I sign out….
Take a look at all the “craft” and “science” kits out there and come up with your own DIY version. It will be WAY better.
A kickin’ awesome Potions Lab or Wizardry Kit can be compiled from a visit to Value Village.
So many fascinating things in glassware! Find a beaker, vase, olive oil dispenser, petree dish (saucer), funnel, teaspoon, and an awesome basket or box to put it all in. The Dollar Store has cute itty bitty glass bottles (with or without glitter in them) which you can fill with baking soda. Pre-mix a few vials of vinegar with food coloring, or if you really trust them you can bestow a whole box of food coloring!
Another gift I’m giving each of my kids this year (and it will become an annual thing) is a Scrapbooking package. Nothing too pre-fab. Just photographs and a few thing I’ve found hiding in my basement. I went through the pictures on my computer from this year and picked out about 10 photos for each of them and got them printed. So we’ll have a scrapbooking party during the holidays — a great way to reminisce at the end of each year 🙂
What else am I giving them?
I’ve realized Maddy is sporty so she is getting a volleyball and some gymnastics classes. She also needs a bedroom overhaul (away from the pastel little girl colours) so I grabbed a wildly colorful rug ($15) and a huge funky painting from Goodwill which I thought was an angel but it’s an elephant! ($15).
Brayden and Davis will be receiving an epic wooden castle that I picked up on kijiji for $50. It’s seriously cool. They will also finally receive a coveted wooden dagger each (Bray has been eying them for 5 years!), just $15 a piece, and they’ll each get a bit of pokemon stuff.
And baby Nolan gets a jolly jumper, thanks to a friend 😉
A jolly good haul if you ask me!