When our kids were little we stood out because our family did NOT “do” Santa Claus. We were shunned and ridiculed by some. We were feared by others, “What if the Sluss kids tell our kids Santa is not real?” When he was three years old, our son, Noah, told the woman cutting his hair, “There is no Santa Claus.” When she asked him who told him that he replied, “My dad.” All heads in the barbershop turned to stare-down my poor husband. He came home and vowed he was never taking Noah for a hair cut in November or December again.
We did celebrate Christmas. We had strong traditions; they just didn’t involve the guy from the North Pole. Our kids are now 24, 21, and 16; when we questioned them, they told us they didn’t feel like they missed anything. They have very strong and positive memories about what we did do. And what we did do was stronger because we did NOT “do” Santa Claus.
I’m falling back on that idea this year: what we say “no” to is important. These days I’m defining my life by what I’m NOT doing. I’m not buying clothes. I’m not attending Christmas parties because I think I “should,” I’m only going to the parties that I want to attend. I’m not baking cookies this year. And, for the second year in a row, we are NOT sending out Christmas cards.
I have a little more time now because of the things I’m NOT doing; and that time is allowing me to experience joy, mystery, and beauty. I wish the same for you: time, joy, a sense of mystery, and beauty.