New Family Traditions

As a parent, there comes a point when you need to decide what values are most important to your family and what kinds of family traditions you want to adopt in your home. Obviously, with the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve really started to pin-point what I want (and do not want) for my children. And that does not include Santa or the infamous Elf on the Shelf visiting our home. Before you think I’m totally weird or a complete Scrooge, please hear me out.

I know its super fun to “believe” as a little one and all, but I distinctly remember finding out Santa wasn’t real – I was completely devastated and mad at my parents for making me believe he was real all those years. I felt like a fool and totally betrayed. Beyond that, I felt like I should’ve thanked my parents all along for abundance of thoughtful gifts, rather than some made up jolly old man. And, I just don’t want to be the reason for my children ever feeling that way, nor am I comfortable lying to them with a story that is just weird to me.

Oh, and the whole Elf on the Shelf phenomenon! First of all, I think he’s completely creeping looking. And, what a little tattle-tale! I get that it’s a fun way to encourage your kids to behave, but I’m just not into it. And, considering we’re not doing the whole Santa thing, it just wouldn’t make sense to invite that naughty little elf into our home.

I know it’s a touchy subject, and I’m probably bound to upset some people for not going along with what are considered “normal” traditions, and for that I’m sorry. But, my husband and I aren’t the type of people to follow traditions just for the sake of them being traditions. They have to make sense and be meaningful to us.  

I’m well aware of how careful I’m going to have to be when explaining this to my little ones. Obviously, I don’t want to take away from anyone else fun. So, my plan is to introduce my kids to the story of Santa, and when the time comes, explain that other families like to pretend that he’s real and since we don’t want to spoil their fun, so we just go along with it.

So, what to do instead?! I’ve done a little research and am planning to adopt a few alternative traditions for my family to encourage what’s most important to us – love and kindness. When I read about The Kindness Elves, I was kind of in love with the idea. Anna, the creator of this brilliant new tradition, beautifully sums up exactly what I’d been feeling myself; “When my little ones were starting to get more aware of Christmas and all of the exciting traditions that accompany it,  it was time to decide what we would adopt for our own family and what we most wanted to focus on for our children. In a world that is so full of “stuff” and a creeping entitlement and have-it-all-now attitude, we knew we wanted our children to feel instead a sense of gratitude for what they have and kindness towards others.” Read more about this great new tradition that’s an excellent alternative to Elf on a Shelf here.

As mentioned above, it’s also important to us that we do not fall victim to a world full of “stuff” that is so easy to get wrapped up into this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I too have a tendency to want to go overboard, especially when it comes time to treat our little ones on Christmas (and Birthdays). Luckily, I found an alternative solution to help keep Christmas sweet and simple with four thoughtful gifts – something they want, something need, something they wear, something they read. Four special and meaningful gifts from the people who love them most in this world – makes perfect sense to me!

I think this is the perfect time of year to do a little soul-searching and discover what values you want to instill on your children. And, I think it’s only fair to have the freedom to do what you think is best for your family.


Resources (and photo credit): The Kindness Elves and Imagination Tree


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