Growing up, the holidays for me were mostly about family. Yeah, Santa came to our house and I got a gift from him but I was never really threatened to be good because of Santa or never really had the holidays be used against me as a way to get me to behave. I don't want it to be like that with the boys either.
I remember my mom putting up boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations and listening to Christmas music on repeat all through December. I remember the cooking and baking, and feeling the anticipation of getting to see all of my aunts and uncles and cousins on Christmas. I remember being so excited to watch my parents open up the gifts I'd made them.
I got one bigger gift from Santa, unwrapped and out of the box (straight out of his bag, you know) and a few knick-knacks in my stocking. Santa always gave smelly soaps to mom and razors and socks to dad. But the best gifts were ones straight from Mom and Dad. There's no better feeling than getting something from your parents, and feeling special that THEY got something just for you. And what was even better was watching them open the gifts I made.
Now that we have children, it's our turn to start traditions with our children, and to teach them our own values. Santa will be part of our Christmas tradition but just as a side character. He'll bring a small gift for the boys no matter how they behave. They're good people and that's what counts. I want our focus to be on family, not on things. Looking back, I can hardly remember any really awesome presents I got but the majority of my holiday memories come with spending time with family every year. Staying up late playing games together, watching Christmas movies, food and laughter.
The boys are little blank canvases and the values that Chikezie and I cherish will be instilled in the boys. For our family, the holidays will be about love.