During the festive season, Natalie Moutafis is following the advice of Dr Seuss - making sure her children know that Christmas doesn't come from a store.
I still get that tingle of excitement when I think about Christmas when I was a kid. There were presents to wrap (and hunt for in the house when mum and dad weren’t looking), there was the tree to lie under and watch the lights flicker and the tinsel – so much tinsel! – sparkle. There was the smell of mum making the plum pudding and rum balls.
Christmas Eve saw my brothers and I leaving out a cookie and milk for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeer. Christmas morning would arrive, and we would wake up and find our stockings at the end of our beds and marvel at the little treasures that Santa just ‘knew’ we wanted. In our house, we could open our stockings right away (often eating chocolates long before our breakfast), but then we would wait for mum and dad to make their morning coffee and tea, and we would all sit together as a family to unwrap our gifts one by one.
It was magical in every way, and honestly, it was all quite simple, but it was the way my parents (and grandparents that we would see later in the day) made it feel that helped cement these memories as something much more special for my brothers and me.
Now that we have the two Tiny Humans, it’s up to us to start some similar traditions and spread the magic of Christmas. It is the first year that the Tiny Toddler really ‘gets’ the concept of gifts and the excitement of tearing off the wrapping paper to discover what’s hidden beneath it. Our little lady is still far too young to understand it, but I love that her big brother making it exciting as he is already enthusiastically pointing out Christmas Trees and decorations that he sees when we are out and about.
Things that we’ve done the past couple of years with the Tiny Toddler include looking at the Christmas windows in the city, visiting Santa, driving through the neighbourhood at night to see all the Christmas lights, baking gingerbread cookies and reading books about Christmas. As both children get older, we will add to these activities and let them also choose things we can do together.
While we of course love buying and receiving gifts, we are trying to make them aware that it’s not just about presents. It’s about how you feel, and how you can make others feel at this time of year. It’s understanding that not everyone celebrates Christmas the same way (or at all) and that it’s about being with your family and friends. Making memories and spending quality time together.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
My wish for my Tiny Humans at Christmas is that they always feel the magic and wonder and when they are grown up that they too will remember fondly how special this time of year is and continue to share the excitement with us and maybe one day, their own families. That would be the best gift a mother could ask for, I think.
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About Natalie Moutafis
Natalie Moutafis is the author of our Tiny Humans blog, providing her engaging and insightful take on life with two young children. Natalie is also a project manager at ISV.Subscribe