It is always our goal to keep our holidays as Christ-centered as possible, especially when it comes to Christmas. As we’ve discussed and selected traditions for Christmas this year, that focus has been even more important because we now have a child involved. So, we had to decide how we were going to handle Santa Claus and other fun things like Elf on the Shelf…With a little help from the ideas of a few others as well as some personal reflection and prayer, we decided that we’ll be a family that does include Santa Claus and the Elf on the Shelf, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite family traditions. Here is how we’re doing it this year and how we plan to continue as Grace gets older and understands more and more.
The Big SC
Okay, so Santa Claus is a bit controversial when it comes to celebrating the true meaning of the season. When it comes down to it, Santa is really the spirit behind Christmas derived from the original intentions of St. Nicholas. We eventually intend to explain all of that to Grace, but for right now, we’re just happily welcoming the jolly old man in his big red suit into our home as a reminder of God’s good gifts to us, and yes, we’re already explaining the tradition to Grace in this way.
The magic behind Santa Claus is fun and affords our little ones some of the joy, awe, and wonder that is childhood, so we fully intend to facilitate that aspect of Christmas for Grace. In our home, gifts from Santa are still symbolic of Christmas being a celebration of Jesus’s birth. These gifts remind us that Jesus wishes to share His joy with us, even in His birthday celebration, and does so by sharing gifts on us. He loves us and cares for us, and good gifts can be a reminder of that. These gifts are also a good reminder that Jesus is the best gift that was ever given to us, and we will continue to express this to Grace in all of the ways that we celebrate Christmas.
Elf on the Shelf – Christ Style
So, how are we tying a so seemingly secular tradition into our Christ-centered celebration? Well, I have to give Leana from A Small Snippet most of the credit here…I just happened to stumble upon her blog post and literally hijacked the same concept for our Elf on the Shelf tradition. (So, thank you Leana! I hope you don’t mind.)
Since the Elf on the Shelf craze came about a few years ago, I had my heart set on doing it with my littles when I eventually had some…As we got closer and closer to it being Grace’s first holiday season, my heart didn’t change, but I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around how we could keep it Christ-centered. But, Leana’s idea is just perfect and is exactly how we introduced Smashie the Elf to Grace.
Obviously she doesn’t understand it all this year, but my hope is to keep these traditions year after year in an effort to create memories for Grace that go back literally as far as she can remember. Understanding God’s grace and how it applies to our everyday lives and even our special celebrations is obviously an important part of that.
So, to keep our Elf on the Shelf tradition Christ-centered, we opted not to share the traditional book with Grace but instead delivered her elf with the attached letter. It explained that Santa understands grace too and uses it to give good gifts even to those who don’t really deserve them. In an effort to help one of his favorite little elves Smashie learn more about grace, Santa sent him to stay with our Grace for the holiday season. Many of the same rules apply as the traditional Elf on the Shelf; however, it is our responsibility to teach Smashie some lessons in grace, forgiveness, and love. So, when he gets into mischief, this year we’ll show Grace how to lovingly redirect him and hopefully by next Christmas she’ll be able to get in on a little action of the cleaning up, giving hugs, and redirecting Smashie and his poor choices.
Christmas is solely about Christ’s Birth and God’s loving sacrifice for us, but part of that is also the awe and wonder of the season. Fun traditions like Santa Claus and Elf on the Shelf are just a few ways that we can show our daughter that magic. I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief Smashie gets into as well as the ways we can use these traditions to deepen our little one’s understanding of her Savior and His great love for her.
So, how do you do Christmas? Do you have any fun traditions like Elf on the Shelf, or do you keep it strictly more traditional?