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Stuff About Stockings

November 23, 2009

Christmas Day can be overwhelming for parents and children. In one fell swoop, children are bombarded with more gifts than they have time to process, so they are often left feeling ungrateful or dissatisfied. Parents, who have worked hard to make it a special time, are disappointed that their hard work is not appreciated. We’ve spent lots of time talking about this and trying to figure out a better way. However, we’ve never really considered cutting out the gift-giving. It’s sort of what Christmas (and Christianity) is all about: receiving a gift that you didn’t deserve or earn. We’ve come up with a couple of alternative solution ideas that we’ll be trying out this year.

The first, will come on December 6, or St. Nicholas Day. We have decided to learn about the real St. Nick and then to open our stockings on this day. The most common story about his life, as it pertains to Christmas, is the one about his giving money to the three daughters for their dowrys by tossing it into their window at night. Somehow, it landed inside their stockings that were left by the fire to dry. Hence, the tradition of stockings at Christmas. He also liked to do his giving in secret, which I suspect is how the idea of his coming at night while children sleep got started. We like this book and read it each year to refresh our memories.

Don’t want to spend a lot on stocking stuffers, but still want to make it special? No problem. Start at home. Here are some ideas:

  • You might be surprised at what you can find around your house. (leftover Independence Day sparklers? extra party favors? a secret candy stash?)
  • Try making some homemade playdough. Add some glitter to make it special, use a cookie cutter to make fun Christmas shapes, throw it in a baggie and then down into that stocking!
  • Here are some free printable paper toys.
  • Print off your own coloring book.

I hope this gets those creative juices flowing….

Basically, we’re just going to try and spread out the gifts a little this year. Maybe you’d like to try this too! It might also take a little pressure off on Christmas Eve when we might otherwise be feverishly putting together toys at the last minute and stuffing stockings full of yummy goodness and special surprises. And the next time someone asks your child, “Are you ready for Santa?” just tell them to say yes!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. jessica permalink
    November 23, 2009 12:23 pm

    you always have such good and unique ideas! 🙂

  2. jena permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:28 pm

    Sounds great! You could also give gifts in secret throughout the day of the 6th. Maybe go dollar tree shopping for a stash so the kids can pick things out for others. Thanks for putting a lot of thought into this so I can just copy 🙂

  3. eleilia permalink
    November 29, 2009 12:47 am

    Jena, please, please, be careful about dollar tree items. They have not been tested for lead hence why they are so cheap. We live close to a dollar tree so the environmental health guy walked over with me one day when he was inspecting our house just for kicks. I left almost in tears. Some are ok, but you just don't know until they have been inspected. Sorry…stepping off of my soap box now:)

  4. rebecca permalink
    December 3, 2009 12:03 pm

    Gina, I love this! We have been planning to celebrate St Nick's day with a few small gifts this year. But I never thought about doing stockings on that day! I think that's a fabulous idea. Of course, Andrew comes from the family that was big on stockings so I don't know if we can buck that much tradition… but it's definitely food for thought!

  5. jenni permalink
    December 16, 2009 1:27 pm

    what a great idea! I feel like my daughter is going to be overwhelmed this year, she is almost 3 so this is the first year she understands gifts so of course tons are coming her way from everybody to spoil her. I will have to remember this for next year!

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