Getting Rid of the Claus Obsession

If you've read my last few blog posts, you know I'm in the middle of a holiday-edition series on stepping away from stuff and leaning into a season of gifting experiences instead of toys.

"This is great in theory, Lindsay, but what am I supposed to do about Santa?! He's everywhere, kids are constantly being asked what they want Santa to bring them, etc. Our favorite holiday tradition is taking the kids to see Santa so they can tell him what they want. What do we do instead?"

Look, I personally am not a huge fan of Magical Holiday Creatures for a number of reasons, but a big one is that it's incredibly scary for some kids (mine included a few years back), who hear the story of Santa/the Easter Bunny/the Tooth Fairy and want to know why a strange person/creature is breaking into their house in the middle of the night. My oldest was terrified at the prospect. As a result, I chose at the time to be honest about the Easter Bunny, which T has completely forgotten about now. The experience changed my perspective in a huge way regarding holidays, however, and I made the choice to remove Santa as much as possible from the equation. Let me tell you: it's not that hard, and here's how I did it, and what I do to create holiday magic instead:


  1. Remove Santa from the house. No "Elf on a Shelf," don't encourage writing letters to Santa, take books about Santa/presents out of the equation, just pare back on all things Claus. Don't talk about Santa, either. Just...stop mentioning it. Talk about other fun events that will happen in the weeks leading up to the holidays.
  2. Chill on the holiday tv time. Easier said than done, I know, but there are some great options:

    - The Snowy Day is an awesome, very inclusive holiday story that does involve toys, but also involves learning about the true purpose of the holiday season (bringing people together). - On Amazon Prime

    - The Great British Baking Show has a holiday edition on Netflix, for kids who like that sort of thing (I know my child isn't the only one who enjoys it)

    - The Nutcracker Ballet (multiple options, including several full, free versions on YouTube, and Balanchine on Netflix)

    - A Christmas Carol (again, many versions available online, but the Muppet version was a staple in my house growing up...I can still hear the 'Marley and Marley' song in my head)

    - Frozen (not a holiday movie, per se, but it works)

    - White Christmas (on Netflix, but this is definitely for older kids who might like musicals)

    - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (on Netflix)
  3. Limit your trips to stores/the mall. Planning ahead is key, here. Create a list of everyone who you plan to surprise with a gift this holiday season. Think it through and write at least a basic idea of what you want to give them. Do your best to be as specific as possible, then think of all the Santa-free places you could get that gift. My favorite is Amazon. A lot of Targets now have a drive-up option where you can order  things from the store and have them brought to your car. Just saying...you can probably avoid Santa with a little strategy. I know that it's not "out of sight, out of mind" for all kids, but it's worth a shot, right?
  4. Create an Experience Calendar (I'll share this in another post). If you're filling their days with other fun holiday experiences, traditions, and memories (that don't necessarily involve a lot of money)...Santa just might take a backseat. 
If this doesn't work and you have kids begging for time with jolly old St. Nicholas...take them. Remind them that, this year, the holidays are going to be about DOING special things, not getting tons of special things. Encourage small lists and a focus on togetherness. It might not happen right away, but it will happen.

Lindsay

Lindsay Sweeting was in the world of Marketing and Publicity in her previous life. These days you're more likely to see her running after her toddler than running a meeting, but she does her best to find time to create new recipes, come up with fun activities for her daughter, and write about the craziness that is life in the Sweeting house.

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