A few years ago we were out of town following the death of the kid’s great-grandma. We were gone for her funeral over the night of St Nick, so we forgot he was coming on December 5th.
Now if you don’t know what I mean when I say St Nick is coming when it’s only December 5th, don’t feel bad! My family didn’t know what it was until we moved back to the Midwest. I’m sure there are sites out on the internet explaining it, but it’s a time when kids are supposed to leave out a shoe (I think) and they will get a small gift from St Nick.
Isn’t this Santa you say, yeah….well…maybe?
Search the internet for the history on this. But the point is that this is a pressure point on the family to give more gifts.
We didn’t do or get anything for the kids that year and didn’t really think about it since we were out of town. Previous years we put those cheap ‘kids’ electric toothbrushes in their shoes, other years, candy.
Back to the Story
When we were back in town, we still didn’t do anything. The kids went back to school a few days later and the little mateys never said anything. I think this was because the ‘what did you get, I got this’ chatter had died down at school by that point, so we were golden that year. St Nick no more!
Next Year No-el
Next year, I honestly didn’t even think of it. The kids came home from school the morning of St Nicks and asked and we just shrugged and said that we don’t do that in our house. We were lucky that the swabbies accepted that.
They did have a discussion about what the kids said they got for St Nicks. There is no way we could have been able to compete with what these kids were given. A few things my kids mentioned were one kid getting $50 and another getting a video game (for a console I’m going to assume). Holy moly! We don’t even spend that much for our kids Xmas gift some years!
The Final Test – Tomorrow Morning!
Well, it’s the night of St Nicks and tomorrow morning our children will wake up to nothing.
Will they survive the gift bragging chatter at school?
Yes. Will they mention it at home? I don’t think that we will have a problem. I recall the Lil’Mate asking about St Nicks recently and the Admiral saying that we don’t do it. So we may be good.
I do think that I’ll be pulling the Lego Advent Calendar out (we’ve had it for years) since we are already late in bringing that out. Oh, and don’t ask about the Shelf Elf, that’s a whole other story. Maybe just look at this Holderness Family video to understand how that will end up working in our house.
Ways you can Reduce or Eliminate St Nick (or other ‘optional’ gift events)
First, you don’t have to end doing St Nicks (or another event). If it brings you joy, doesn’t stress you out and doesn’t impact you financially – if you want it, keep it.
Now, if you have decided you want to end St Nicks here are a few suggestions, pick and choose what you think will work for you.
Cold stop – just stop.
Okay, some reasons to use in a full stop:
- We have chosen not to do this.
- We don’t celebrate that or that is something that is celebrated in their house.
- That’s not part of our family tradition.
- We are changing things up this year!
Tone it down.
Now, not sure which rung of the ladder I’m talking you down from, but size these suggestions as you need them:
- Go down to just one item.
- Select a ‘theme’ item of socks or pjs.
- Get a gift card ($5 or $10?) for a place they like or can get a treat. We like doing movies at the theater and I do not like buying candy at the theater, but I get the kids a $10 gift card and then they can get little treats on their own.
- Get a ‘need’ item, a new toothbrush or the aforementioned socks.
- Even if it’s a candy bar and a toothbrush, that could be less than before and at least you know they are getting a new toothbrush at least once that year!
Create a new tradition!
Replace the behavior you don’t like with something new:
- Could you make it a day to give to others?
- A lot of areas get donations around the holidays and people are choosing to volunteer on Thanksgiving or Xmas, but why not make the 5/6th a volunteer day? Let your child pick something that they want to help at and plan it with them.
- Donate to Toys for Tots or other gift donation program in your area.
- Adopt a family in a giving tree at your work or with a support group and help your kids shop for those children. Our kids probably have enough toys and stuff already anyway. Give them a budget and the objective ($25 and gifts a 10 yr old would like) and watch them develop that muscle to look for things for someone else! It may take a few or many times, but it’s a good example and memory they will call on later in life.
Let me know what kind of tradition you are changing up or creating new in your family!