With businesses big and small throwing consumerism in your face, the true meaning of Christmas can get lost in the cheap smoke show of secular culture. It can oftentimes feel like you can never do enough! Liam and I made a decision before Brennan was born to conscientiously keep that out of our home during the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Liam thought it wise to begin good habits even when Brennan was an only child, since we knew we wouldn’t have the money to spoil multiple kids with material goods. We heard from many people about three Christmas gifts symbolizing the ones from the Magi, so we decided to give that a go.
Gold: the big “want” gift. This year, that was an outdoor play set for Brennan.
Frankincense: something to cultivate love for outdoor play or the arts. Since Brennan already got an outdoor toy, we got him a large Crayola coloring mat.
Myrrh: something to cultivate their love for the Catholic faith. This year was the Theology of the Body for Toddlers collection. *more on that below.
We went back and forth on whether or not to include Santa in our Christmas traditions. Ultimately, we decided that Santa will come to fill our stockings and bring one gift to honor the integrity of family life. We are holding off this year due to the age of the kids and Brennan’s surgery, but some future ideas are: museum, zoo, or amusement park tickets, an overnight stay somewhere cool (one perk of the military is we are always moving!), or something new to try together (think bikes, roller blades, etc).
After talking with parents who do a version of this, we heard nothing but good things. This will keep Christmas within our budget and simple so we can devote more time to Advent activities and spending time together. Besides, a happy and united family is all children really want anyway.
*Here are just a few of our favorite Catholic gifts for the little guys and gals.*
My mom got Brennan the Our Father and Christmas books by Maite Roche. They are simple board books that help children learn prayers. Since then, we have added the Hail Mary, Baptism Day, and The Christmas Star to our collection. We keep them in Brennan’s church bag, though he takes them out many times throughout the week to look through on his own. You can find the entire collection here.
We purchased the Theology of the Body for Tots series because we want to get ahead of the game by teaching TOB at home. Neither my husband nor I learned about TOB through our Catechism classes (🤔). We don’t want our own children to learn about it when we did (at our Pre Cana classes). These board books provide age appropriate info and the series continues as the kids get older. They are a little pricy, but for many kids they are well worth it. You can find TOB for Tots here.
Winston’s Godparents got him the My First Rosary Plush. The cross at the bottom is a teething-friendly plastic, similar to this teething Rosary. However, this seems more suitable for a younger baby and will not get caught on things or tangled, as Brennan’s teething Rosary and necklace often do.