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What Matters Most: Christmas, Gifts and Giving…Is There Room For Santa?


What Matters Most:
Christmas, Gifts and Giving…Is There Room For Santa?

What does Christmas mean to you and your family? How do the holidays look in your home? What things make your heart sing when you think of the Christmas Season? If you’re honest with yourself, is it more about getting that one perfect gift or is Christmas more about spending time with family and friends? Do you go all out and decorate with those adorable snowman, reindeer & Santa? Does your family combine both Jesus birth and the fun of Santa & Snowmen? Or is it important to your family that there be absolutely no talk of Santa or of hanging of stockings in your home?

The way our family celebrates Christmas today looks very different than it did 19 years ago. Stepping back into time some 18+ years ago when our first child was born, we were that family that would have nothing to do with Santa, reindeer, hanging up stockings, or any hopes that Saint Nick would soon appear. Nor was “Twas The Night Before Christmas” being read to our children with Dasher, Dancer, Comet or Cupid let alone Rudolph or sugar plum fairies dancing & prancing around on our roof or in our children’s heads. Sure, we had a tree and gave gifts but there was no room for Santa and his reindeer in our house.

Here’s how our Christmas celebration has evolved..

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Interestingly enough back then, we spent substantially more money on gifts for our children. You see, we were very good at “looking the part” of religiosity having a form of religion that was more focused on the outward appearances. We really wanted to do what was right and honor God but it often came across to others as extremely rigid. Even as I’m typing these words I cringe a bit knowing that I will step on toes and for a moment I catch myself wondering what others will say about our family and how we’ve gone off the deep end spiritually. But then I am drawn back to the place of where God has brought us after all these years. Christmas~”The Reason For The Season” still is of utmost importance to us and at the heart of all that we do. We still teach our children that Christmas is about giving NOT receiving. Yet, somewhere over the years the rough edges and high esteem of ourselves, how we thought our children would behave and how our home would look, began to be smoothed and rounded out. I didn’t realize it before I was a parent, but thankfully God brings about a softening or refining of who we are at the core as we experience the joys & trials of raising little ones.

Read more: Better, Not Bitter: Three F’s for Holiday Co-Parenting Success!


Merry Christmas

A few years into parenting I read the story about who Saint Nick was and how his parents died leaving him with a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. In the most famous story about his life, he threw bags of gold through the windows of three girls about to be forced into lives of prostitution. This in part is when we began to re-think what we do during Christmas adding new Christmas traditions in our home.

Read more: What Matters Most: 6 Steps To Holiday Peace Instead Of Chaos



We started doing a “Secret Santa” with the kids, in part, to simplify gift giving. When you have a lot of children and each child wants to give each sibling a gift it gets crazy and expensive. Secondly, it was a way for the kids to focus on this one sibling that they drew and think of ways to bless them. How it works is that we all draw a name, keeping the name that was drawn a secret. Throughout each of the 12 days before Christmas the little notes and gifts (chocolate kiss, piece of gum, sticker) left on beds, desks, taped to the mirror or computer monitor is a fun reminder of how fun it is to give. On Christmas morning each person gives a special gift that they made or purchased to the person that they have been secretly blessing the last 12 days.. The older kids get very creative with their notes and little gifts and usually are not discovered until Christmas morning. It is so much fun find out who was your “Secret Santa”!

Read more: Single Mom Slice Of Life: 5 Things I Learned On The Long Road To Christmas


Our Christmas Fireplace

Along with our “Secret Santa” tradition we also began what my children say is one of their most favorite & fondest memories of Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve Duane and I fill the children’s stockings and hide them all over the house. I then begin writing riddles for each child to help them locate their stocking. When they wake up in the morning they find their riddle where their stocking had been hanging and begin the crazy fun search for their stocking.

We also choose a family in need and buy groceries and gifts for them. We involve our children in the decisions of what to buy and we usually try to drop all the gifts & food off secretly so that the family finds their gifts but does not know who it is from.

Read more: Christmas Tree Chaos


glazed doughnuts

One last tradition we do as a family has to do with choosing a family in our neighborhood, usually someone new to the neighborhood in the last year and is unsuspecting of our little tradition. For the 12 Days before Christmas we do a sort of “nice doorbell ditching” and leave a gift on their doorstep with a riddle corresponding with the song , The 12 Days Of Christmas”. For instance on the 5th Day of Christmas is “Five Golden Rings”. We leave a dozen glazed doughnuts and a little note about it being the 5th day of Christmas. On Christmas eve our whole family participates singing some Christmas carols and we give them a plate of goodies.

Read more: 10 From GEM: 10 Cool Ways To Be Good And Do Good


Even though we still very much believe that Christ is the reason for the season and that giving is what Christmas is all about; we have found a balance that works for our family. These traditions are some of those things that I said 20 years ago that I’d never do…and now I very much love the memories we make each year with our children at Christmas, with gifts, giving & Santa.

From our home to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Tricia ♥

How do you celebrate the season? What does Christmas mean to you?


Tricia is a wife of 19 years, Mom to 9 children (6 biological & 3 adopted from Ethiopia) who has gone from surviving to thriving, helping others find health in their body mind/heart and financially. Tricia has gone from having gone from her husband traveling all week every week to living a life they once only dreamed of and now they desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation. You can read more about her on and connect with her on her Facebook page and Twitter @TriciaDixon.

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