*This is a rewrite of a post I originally deleted. Pictures will follow soon...my smartphone is being rather stupid at the moment ;)
Cameron and I have decided to not celebrate traditional holidays in our home.
Yes this will ruffle some feathers, but we're not having Christmas at out house, nor Halloween or Easter.
We are, however, celebrating the beginnings of each season, birthdays, Independence Day and a few other events here and there.
After watching all the commercials for Christmas this past year (did anyone else notice that they started advertising in September???), followed by commercials for sales for New Year's, Valentine's day, Saint Patrick's day and now Easter, we felt overwhelmed by the commercialism of it all. How have the holidays gotten so far away from what the original point was? When did gifts become so important?
Growing up, I remember that Santa brought presents for the stockings (which were always practical things like socks and underwear) and maybe 3 gifts for under the tree. We got usually one present from each family member with gifts from our parents always being a new outfit. Easter we got one practical gift, a book or game that tied into school. When did it become normal for parents to max out not one, but 3 credit cards for just Christmas?
We are in a transition season, of course this will take time. Another reason we have decided to do this is that our nuclear family celebration will always be on a different day than that of our extended family and the masses. There will never be any scheduling conflicts. Six events throughout the year will be gift giving: two equinoxes, two solstices, birthdays and anniversaries. All gifts will either be bought second hand, on extreme sale or made (actually we're trying to make this a rule for daily life as well).
As we grow together and children are introduced, we hope that the holidays will be a time for reflection, thanksgiving and love. We want our future children to remember that Spring is a time of rebirth, of Christ and the world around us. It is a time for second chances, to begin anew with a clean slate. So while at home, we will not be participating in Santa or the Easter Bunny, we will certainly not keep our children away from these concepts when with extended family. We will still participate in the Christmas Eve dinners, egg hunts and the general excitement that comes from holidays with large families. And don't worry, while Santa may not visit our house, King Winter (popular in old stories and the Waldorf schools) will. To us, it is the simplicity that matters. And to paraphrase a letter to a little girl named Virginia, "Yes Virginia, Santa does exist. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion abound..."
In love and light,
In case you would like to read the whole letter written to one 8 year old Virginia O'Hanlon: