I remember my childhood Christmases. Mostly what I remember is being surrounded by family and getting cool things in my stocking. That being said, I want Christmas for my daughter to be a time of making memories, like mine were, but I want those memories to focus on Jesus and not the "stuff" she gets. If we didn't have Jesus, we wouldn't have a Christmas. So, we don't have a Santa that comes to our house - our daughter knows he is the man with the red coat and hat and a white beard and she loves to look around and find Santa waving in light displays around town, but we tell her that her gifts are from Mommy and Daddy and whoever else sends gifts. We tell her that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birthday and this year she is excited to make a cake for Jesus and we've been thinking of gifts to give Him. I don't really care that other people have Santa in their house, but my biggest problem is that he is so big in our culture that everywhere we go, people ask my little girl "What did you ask Santa for?" and then I get the strange look from them when I reply, "Santa doesn't come to our house." or "We don't do Santa."
Here are my 2 main reasons for not doing Santa:
1) I don't want to lie to my child. God tells us not to lie and I can't say that I'm comfortable with telling her that this strange man came down our chimney into our house and brought all these presents to you because you've been a good little girl this year.
2) We tell our kids this "imaginary" story about Santa and the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy and sooner or later they find out that these characters are not real, and we also tell our kids about Jesus - who is real...I don't want to take a chance of my little Lilly thinking that Jesus fits into the same category as these characters.
This year, we have done a devotional called The Jesse Tree, we made ornaments to hang on the tree that went with each day's scriptures. We picked an angel off the Angel tree at church and we picked out the gift together and then delivered it as a family. We baked and decorated sugar cookies and my husband made a gingerbread house with my sweet daughter. On Christmas Eve we will bake a cake for Jesus and decorate it and then we will go to the service at our church. Afterwards, we will go to Waffle House (that is a tradition from my childhood) and then Christmas day we will celebrate Jesus' birthday with cake and games and gifts and reading the Christmas story from the Bible.
I have read many blogs about other people's traditions and I have a few that I plan to implement next year because I think they really bring home the message that this time is about celebrating Jesus. I do hope that my family can find ways to really celebrate Jesus at other times of the year as well! He deserves at least that from us - he was sent here to Earth as a sacrifice for our sins and it is a free gift to anybody who chooses to accept it, what better gift can somebody have than eternal life!