Taming the Christmas Beast... A.k.a My Toddler.

While shopping at the local farmer's market, I ran into an old friend who had never met Ollie.  After our girly screams and how have you beens, Ollie stole the show.  My friend asked him if he was excited about Christmas... this is how the conversation went.

GF: Are you excited about Christmas?
Ollie: (matter of fact) Santa is coming to town.
GF: Oh Wow!  That's exciting.
Ollie: (matter of fact) He's going to come down the chimney.

Both my girlfriend and I busted out laughing.  Where the hell does he get this stuff?

No doubt, FTD.

I understand it's par for the course for a child to think of Santa when asked about Christmas, but it was clear from this exchange, he still has no clue what is going on, or why the fat man in the red suit is going to squeeze his happy ass down our chimney.

Being that Ollie is just three months shy of turning three, this is his first Christmas to somewhat grasp  something is going on.  Last year, all he knew was that daddy set up a tree and hung chocolates from it... that he was constantly getting busted for taking down and biting into. Wrapper and all.

Between his exchange with my friend, and my love of the holiday for family, tradition and of course my unshakable faith, I want to make sure I teach my son what Christmas is really about. I want him to know why we have a tree, and why we have to go to church at night, and why the fat man is coming with gifts.

Just so we're on the same page, before I go into one of my wicked rants, (happy Monday!) here's my internal struggle: There is SO MUCH to the Christmas holiday, how do I teach my almost three year old child the basics without blowing his mind?

My inner child and inner mother have been having this internal dialogue for a few days now.  Yes, I am that certifiable that I have this going on! 

So here's what been said so far...

Inner child:  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?  He's a child. A two-year-old.  You can preach Jesus and God all you want, but to a child, presents and cookies and family gatherings are where the fun is at. Don't piss on it with your bible thumping... this year at least.

Inner mother: But, if I start early with his first Christmas, and put more emphasis on the reason for the holiday and the fun traditions, then maybe he won't think SANTA'S COMING when asked about Christmas.

Inner Child: Yeah. Good luck with that.  Let me know how it works out.  But we both know Christmas morning you, FTD and Ollie will be huddled around the tree beaming from ear to ear from all the fun gifts the "fat man" brought.

Inner Mother: So true...

Above all, I just want my son to understand why we celebrate Christmas, and that there is so much more to it then gifts.  I also DO NOT want him to be a spoiled brat that gets WAY more than he needs, and forgets to be thankful for what he has.

Yes. I think like this.

I can't help it. I'm desperate to raise a child of God who is grateful for his blessing. I want so bad for him to enjoy the simple things life has to offer.

I've seen those kids who race down the stairs on Christmas morning to a huge pile of gifts, only to tear through them, throwing one gift aside to get to the next. Then somehow after opening all thirty gifts, are disappointed there are no more to open. WTF???

Ok... Full disclosure: I'm almost positive I was one of those kids. My inner child is right, Christmas/Hanukkah is a BOSS holiday for a child. It's such a fun time of year with the traditions, parties and gifts. I don't want to be a Bible Thumping Thelma the entire time just to drive home a point.  I have a few years for that.  But at the same time, Christmas is not only about Santa!

Right now my best plan is to teach Ollie that Christmas is a time for thankfulness.  It's a time of year we thank God for our blessings, and his sacrifice. It's a time to stop the daily grind to take a few days to spend time with loved ones; being thankful for each other, and giving gifts of gratitude to those we love.

How I'm going to cram all of that into a toddler's head should be interesting.

It's so hard being a mom sometimes!  Especially when my partner in crime, FTD, is a big child too!

What about you? Do you think like this, or are you all about letting Christmas/Hanukkah be a fun time until they are truly old enough to fully grasp all that the holidays are about?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com