Christmas expectations in North America
How can we possibly convince our children that Christmas is about the birth of Christ and not Santa, gifts and stressed-out parents?
Our son has come to expect the Christmas tree to make an appearance with the first snow flake to hit the pavement. He associates winter and snow with Santa and gifts. When we had the first snow fall, on Sunday, he immediately asked if we could put up the Christmas tree when we returned home from church.
In North America, this is the logical correlation that kids make. After all, the Christmas decorations come up at the stroke of midnight on October 31st ( or so the popular internet meme goes; and a personal favorite http://www.mireillemishriky.com/late-laugh-start-week-merry-halloween/) making November and December a mad rush to Christmas Eve and the opening of the gifts.
Re-focusing on Advent
In a wholehearted effort to reclaim Advent, I came up with a rebellious plan 2 years ago. The Nativity Scene came out before the Christmas tree!
On the first day of the Coptic fast ( 45 days preceding the Orthodox Christmas which is celebrated on January 7th) , I ceremoniously set up all of our Nativity scenes ( I have quite a few) and explain to our son that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. It is my way of “keeping Christ in Christmas”.
The Christmas tree makes its appearance a week after. The delay serves to reinforce the notion that the tree and the gifts are secondary to the birth of Christ.
That is what Christmas is all about!
Blessed Coptic Fast to all ( a few days early) and may your Christmas season be full of Christ!